Happy Holidays from our Family to yours!  We pray the prayer of peace, joy and contentment in this season.  We pray for GOD to surround you with loved ones, family and friends that will provide you the gift of their presence!  Don't let anybody or anything take your joy hunny :-)

7 Ways to Find and Keep Your Joy this Holiday Season!

With Thanksgiving just ending and Christmas and Hanukkah just weeks away we are fully in the Holiday Season.

I remember being a little girl bursting with excitement this time of year. I loved everything about the holidays and especially everything about Christmas. I loved getting in the car with my grandmother and driving through neighborhoods full of ornate Christmas light displays. I loved adorning our Christmas tree with lights and colorful ornaments and waiting with expectation for the shining presents underneath to be opened.

The holidays can either be a time of excitement and joy as it was for me as a little girl or for others a time when joy is harder to find and keep. The National Institute of Health even found that “Christmas is a time of year people report high incidences of depression” (psychologytoday.com). For some this is undoubtedly the most exciting time of year and for others it couldn’t be a more painful reminder of the difficult relationships or lost loved ones in their lives.

For whichever scenario relates more to your holiday experience I want to encourage you it is possible to find and keep your joy in every season, even difficulty or in times when it seems we may be lacking or are waiting for the answers to our prayers.

Happy Holidays from our Family to yours!  We pray the prayer of peace, joy and contentment in this season.  We pray for GOD to surround you with loved ones, family and friends that will provide you the gift of their presence!  Don't let anybody or anything take your joy hunny :-)

Happy Holidays from our Family to yours! We pray the prayer of peace, joy and contentment in this season. We pray for GOD to surround you with loved ones, family and friends that will provide you the gift of their presence! Don’t let anybody or anything take your joy hunny :-)

Here are 7 tips for Finding and Keeping Your Joy this Holiday Season:

1. Make a Joy List
This can be one of the most fun and therapeutic activities when the “holiday blues” attempt to bring you down. I took the advice of JLO founder Mrs. Lee and in a moment of discouragement took out a pen and paper and wrote on one side everything that brought me joy and on the following side the situations that were troubling me. By the end of the exercise I was filled with newfound encouragement over every blessing I had previously overlooked in that moment. I’m sure you’ll discover as I did that your joy list will likely far outnumbered the list of things that are bothering you.

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2. Make time for Loved Ones
Its easy to get busy in the holiday season with finals, cooking, shopping, or simply the day to day grind of life. However, studies have shown that social isolation, even for individuals who naturally consider themselves introverts, quickly leads to depression during the holidays. Spend time with those loved ones that make you smile just thinking of them. Solomon wrote about the value of relationships saying that “two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
3. Focus on what brings you Joy and Peace
There are times when it seems like everything going wrong is demanding our attention. In those moments a sea of emotions can seem to well up around us threatening to take us under with them. Those are the times that when focusing on something, even if it one thing in our life, that brings us joy and peace is so vital. For me sometimes just taking a few minutes to stop and thank God for just one small area in the midst of negative circumstances in my life will shift my emotions entirely.

Sharing the Gospel and Encouraging Others to Press into His Promises Brings me Joy!

Sharing the Gospel and Encouraging Others to Press into His Promises Brings me Joy!

4. Ignore the little things that steal your Joy
As I found in the activity where I wrote my joy list and a list of things bothering me, the things that were stealing my joy were much more trivial than they originally seemed. Still tend to things that need to be taken care of, but while doing it remember the bigger picture and the fact that even the things that bother us today are only temporary.
5. Take time to rest
While for some isolation can bring depression, for others the sheer business of life can bring stress and anxiety. Allow yourself time to rest and rejuvenate. Whether it’s taking a long hot bath, drinking a cup of tea with a favorite book, or simply closing your eyes and soaking in your most loved worship songs, taking time out to rest is needed to keep our joy and peace in the midst of busy lives and schedules.

6. Soak in the Sun
That’s right, soak up the sun! One of the major causes of increased depression in winter months is simply a lack of sunlight exposure. Exposure to the sun helps our bodies release a hormone called serotonin which helps boost our mood (“What Are the Benefits of Sunlight?” Nall). Try to take a quick walk in the morning or if weather permits, eat your lunch outside during 10 am-4 pm when the sun shines at its strongest (sunsafetyalliance.org). My son and I take daily visits to the local playground to get much needed outside time for both of us. 
7. Know that God rejoices over You!
There is nothing more encouraging than knowing our Heavenly Father takes delight and rejoices over us! Zephaniah 3:17 tells us God is literally in our midst, rejoicing and singing over us! When we wake up He is right there celebrating another day He is able to spend with us, singing joyful songs we might not hear but that He sings enthusiastically to express just how much He loves us. I pray this truth penetrates our hearts and fills you with unspeakable joy this holiday season!

GOD enjoys your life, your ministry to Him and to others.  He rejoices over you with singing, as we believe this we are more at peace and rest in Him.  We have more confidence and our joy becomes more stable.

GOD enjoys your life, your ministry to Him and to others. He rejoices over you with singing, as we believe this we are more at peace and rest in Him. We have more confidence and our joy becomes more stable.

What brings you the most joy in your life? What tips will you be trying out this holiday? Feel free to share in the comments below we love hearing from you!

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Three Ways to Wear Olive Green Jeans for the Fall

Fall is by far my favorite season of the year!  I had so much fun pairing together different tops with this one pair of olive green jeans…I’ve always loved fall colors, navy blues, browns, ivories, hunter greens and my favorite- deep burgundy reds.  And they are in my color wheel, these are the colors I dress with, decorate with and am naturally drawn too.  Knowing your season can be so helpful in knowing what colors work best for you too, I’ll do a fashion post on that soon!

Here I have three different looks with the same basic foundation of high rise, green riding pants and an essential white tank.  It is so key to have these essentials in our wardrobes that we can pair with other more trendy pieces.  They complete our wardrobe.  Then we can dress up our looks with accessories and shoes or in this case riding boots.

These looks all have an earthy, relaxing feel to them while still appearing to have a finished touch.  By changing jackets and in the second look a sweater, these three outfits have taken on their own personality while remaining classic and timeless.

In the coming days, I can’t wait to share more about the basics of dressing for your own body type, knowing the colors that work best for you and being the best version of yourself as possible!  Hope you are enjoying the fall season as much as I am…and looking forward to Christmas holidays as well! xoxo

Look One: Jacket: Forever 21  Tank: Target Jeans: Bloomingdales  Necklace: Macys

Look Two: Hat: Nine West  Sweater: Madewell  Boots: Enzo Angiolini

Look Three: Jacket: Urban Outfitters Necklace: Loft

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2016-11-16_09.48.33[1] open faced breakfast sandwich

Healthy Open Faced Breakfast Biscuit

Every morning I eat some type of eggs for breakfast but have run out of ways to make them after a while.  It really takes a lot of creativity to keep getting enough protein in our bodies as ladies.  I used to love boiled eggs, simply sliced in half, with salt, pepper and dipped in maple syrup.  Try it!  It’s pretty tasty…

But after about a week of eating boiled eggs every day you may not want to see another boiled egg.  Eggs are a healthy source of protein.  Protein helps our bodies have a stronger immune system, build and repair cells, move nutrients and develop hormones.

Really healthy or “complete” proteins are in eggs, fish, dairy, meats and poultry.  The protein found in eggs are also lower in carbohydrates.

I always get free range or organic eggs to avoid the chemicals found in animals who are squeezed together in unhealthy conditions or fed antibiotics that seep into our systems when we eat.  This same “rule” can be used when getting chicken, beef or any other type of meat (look for free range, organic meats, it will say it on the package.)

Now that all of that health stuff is covered, I wanted to share a recipe that my friend Laurin has created.

She’s one of the classiest women I know, a great teacher and a great cook! 

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She’s going to be sharing more of her recipes with us to give us quick, simple healthy meal ideas we can make for ourselves, friends and families.  Thanks Laurin!

The wheat biscuit recipe is from here: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/04/08/super-easy-recipe-whole-wheat-biscuits/

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Ok, one more health fact: Whole wheat and whole grains are really good for you!  Did you know that there are other whole grain alternatives as well like brown rice, millet, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat and spelt?  I cook with them all of the time and will share recipes that can get you started eating more whole grains. 

They are packed with nutrients like Vitamin B (really good for women of childbearing age, good for women who want to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy one day), Antioxidants (protect cells, protect and repair tissue), and fiber (cleanses the colon, helps with digestion). 

Here are a few organic or all natural brands you can begin to experiment with (I’ll add more fun, simple recipes soon):

bobs buckwheat

whole wheat flour

 

 

quinoa

 

And if none of that really makes you want to eat whole grains, guess what else?  They help you lose weight!  They don’t stick to you like regular old flour! 

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate mainly whole grains were 49% less likely to gain weight whereas people eating refined grains were more likely to put on the pounds.  This is a way to enjoy those “breads” and stay nice and fit!

You can replace your pancakes, biscuits, bread, muffins, cereal, soups, stews and pasta with whole grain options that are less “weighty.”

Here’s a quick and simple way to make a whole grain, fried egg sandwich that you can take with you on the run (skipping the fast food temptation we often crave lol).  No more excuses ladies let’s get in shape!

Laurin's Open Faced Breakfast Biscuit
A scrumptious whole wheat breakfast delight you can grab as you run out the door or enjoy in the mornings during a quick quiet time!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups organic whole wheat flour
  2. 4 teaspoons baking powder
  3. ½ teaspoon salt
  4. 4 tablespoons cold organic butter
  5. 1 cup milk (I used almond milk but you can use any kind)
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1-2 organic turkey slices
  8. Green bell pepper
  9. Red bell pepper
  10. 1/2 tbsp butter
  11. Garlic salt (to taste)
  12. Black pepper (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Instructions: (Biscuits)
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well with a fork.
  3. Cut the butter into little pea sized pieces and then mix the pieces into the flour mixture.
  4. Cut in butter to the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. You may use a fork to mash the butter into the flour.It may resemble pea-sized butter pieces covered in flour.
  5. Then pour in the milk and mix it all together. Knead the dough with your hands 8 to 10 times and then turn out onto a lightly floured counter or cutting board.
  6. Pat it out flat with your hands until the dough is a somewhat even ¾-inch thickness (or you may roll it out with a rolling pin).
  7. Using a cookie cutter or turning a drinking glass upside down, cut out biscuit rounds.
  8. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Instructions: (Fried Eggs)
  10. While biscuits are baking, warm a medium skillet with about 1/2 tsp butter. Once butter has melted, crack eggs directly onto skillet (keeping yoke in tack).
  11. Add garlic salt to taste. Cook to desired firmness.
  12. Biscuits should be just about done by this time. In the meantime, slice several slivers of both the green and red peppers. If desired, warm turkey slices on skillet.
  13. Once the biscuits are complete, slice one in half. Place slice of turkey on each. Then top each with fried egg.
  14. To complete, garnish eggs with peppers and black pepper.
  15. Enjoy!
Jade Lee http://jadelee.org/
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The Single and Happy Live, Saved and In College- Episode #1

In College? Living for Christ? Feeling alone? Introducing JLO’s newest segment “Saved and in College”. Watch college student EdLeea Brewster as she encourages, motivates, and inspires girls to live for Christ with purpose while in college.

EPISODE #1- The Single and Happy Life

Being single isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when you are in college. You can easily feel like the outsider when everyone around you is in romantic relationship. Singleness is beautiful. It is a great time to serve the LORD wholeheartdly! Watch this video to be encouraged.

Rainbow-Light-Prenatal-Supplemental-Facts

Naturally Preparing your Body for Pregnancy

I’ve been blessed to help quite a few women pre, during and postpartum to find that we need A Clear Plan before getting into the world of pregnancy; this should help you prepare your body for pregnancy even before you are pregnant.  It is so reassuring for these mamas to know that they are educated on what is happening to their body and how to respond to the sudden changes they are experiencing.  Unfortunately, as a pastor’s wife, I have been through the process of walking with a number of couples through unexpected miscarriages, pregnancy complications and panic attacks.

This is a very sensitive issue and something that I hold in confidentiality with these couples, so I will not provide any “real-life” examples, but it has been on my heart for quite some time to share what I have learned through walking with these couples and my own research in helping “keep them pregnant.”  None of this information is to replace or negate what your practitioner advises you to do, only to supplement and provide a natural, reassuring perspective that can further empower you as a mama or mama-to-be.

The first area of concern for me is that many times I have found women’s bodies and minds are not prepared for pregnancy.  There is a common belief that “I will just get pregnant, grab a pre-natal vitamin off a grocery store shelf, get to my doctor, take a blood test to confirm and keep it moving.”  But when there is not enough body fat to maintain the pregnancy, the body has toxins causing a hormonal imbalance, or the body is not getting enough healthy nutrients to keep mama and baby healthy, this can result in an unwanted crisis.  Unfortunately, this risk is not always shared with mama until it is too late.  So, what can you do to prepare your body for that day when you find out you are pregnant?

This is important if you are married, trying to get pregnant, or using no means of protection and may get pregnant.  Let’s give our body what it needs in a preventative way so that we can have healthy, full term deliveries.

#1 Find a Whole Food, Good Quality PreNatal Vitamin

There is only one downside to a whole food prenatal, it is more expensive, but the cost is worth every penny when you consider its benefits.  This is different than a prescription or over the counter manufactured prenatal.  Instead, it consists of all natural ingredients and vitamins from their natural source.  The prescription prenatals can be very hard on some women’s digestion, cause nausea, heartburn, indigestion and constipation.  It may not be right for all women.  Doing your own research and discovering what is best for your body in consultation with your doctor is helpful.

Prenatal vitamins are helpful because the baby pulls from mama’s nutrients to get her own taking care of, leaving mama depleted of daily intake if not eating enough or supplementing.  This can cause more nausea, fainting or other complications (including miscarriage or the baby not growing at a recommended rate).  To ensure both baby and mama get all they need I have included a few prenatal vitamin options to supplement your daily food intake.

A few high quality, whole food prenatal vitamins are:

Baby & Me
babyandme2Baby and Me is a plant based, vegetable vitamins so you do not have to worry about manufactured items entering your body and it is full of great vitamins for you and your baby, as it’s name suggests.  There is also a Herb-Free Version of Baby & Me available (especially important if you are already taking herbs or tonics to support your health).  A lot of mamas absolutely love how easy this vitamin is on their stomachs and how they can take it with no worries of a sick tummy!  It is also very high in Vitamin D (which helps prevent miscarriage).

Rainbow Light Prenatal One

Rainbow-Light-Prenatal-Supplemental-FactsAnother option is Rainbow Light Prenatal One.  This 100% vegetarian and natural vitamin has no preservatives and is also vegan.  Another perk is you only need one a day to get your daily intake, and it is very light on the stomach due to it’s inclusion of probiotics (good for digestion).    It has twice the amount of the following vitamins as a lot of prenatal vitamins:

  • iron (good for metabalism and blood cell production),
  • vitamin D (for mama and baby’s healthy bones and teeth),
  • vitamin C & A (for skin, eye, immune, brain health, and destressing),
  • folic acid (to prevent birth defects, help with the baby’s brain and cell development, plus spine growth), and
  • vitamin B (for energy, cell growth, stress, immune support and more). 

#2 A Whole Food, Healthy Diet

Of course, this is only a supplement to eating a whole food, healthy diet, with healthy fats like organic butter, coconut, olive, sunflower and sesame seed oils, fish, nuts, seeds, lots of dark leafy vegetables, and bright, vibrant choices like carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Plus a lot of fruit (think half your plate being full of fruits and vegetables).  There are so many new fruits and veggies that you may not have tried yet and can now focus on enjoying. 

The key is to snack, snack, snack on healthy foods and meal prep ahead of time so you don’t run out of food and go crazy at a fast food restaurant!  To avoid preservatives, try organic, grass fed, farm fresh food from the farmer’s market or the organic section of your grocery store.  This will protect both you and baby from unwanted harmful substances.

This is your chance to taste the rainbow.  Think about beautiful colors, many beautiful colors you are taking into your body on a daily consistent (never skipping meals) basis.  Try some of the foods on this rainbow chart to get you started:

jlo rainbow food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many healthy options out there, a few tips on snacks: slice oranges, apples, kiwi, peaches and bring them to work with you.  Grab a bunch of grapes and throw them in your lunch bag.  Keep a cooler in the back of your car/trunk full of yummy homemade smoothies (by the way this is a good snack option), lots of water, and your fruit. 

And mama’s protein intake is really important too.  You can get this from grass fed meats (lower in fat plus essential fatty acids) and cold water fish (look for “wild” fish, rather “farm raised”in grocery store- like cod, Alaskan salmon, and Alaskan halibut), lentils, beans and vegetables like kale and broccoli.  Try to get a balance of both meat and vegetable proteins in your meals.

A few tips: Low zinc is believed to cause miscarriage (you can always get your blood levels checked prior to pregnancy) and the right amount of vitamin B12 can help prevent miscarriage by strengthening mama’s endometrium lining where the egg is fertilized.  Zinc: shrimp, lamb, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, turkey, sesame seeds, green peas.   B12: Lobster, eggs, liver, crab, fish, beef, lamb, oysters.

Foods to avoid: cold cuts, excess caffeine, soft cheeses, alcohol, don’t go on a low fat diet (you need healthy fats to support your growing baby)

#3 Relaxation Plan

Of course there’s a lot more mama’s-to-be can do to prepare for pregnancy and keep a healthy pregnancy, but for today, we will close this up by talking about the importance of the R&R: Rest and Relaxation.  We all need rest, but your body is working twice as hard when pregnant, so you finally have a good excuse for sleeping A LOT. 

Sleep– On your left side (your liver is on your right side, this will help avoid pressure on your liver- this can get harder as you get bigger, so just try your best).  Try to avoid sleeping on your back because it pressures a lot of organs and can lower circulation.  

You can also get a wedge when you get bigger to help with sleep. 

wedge

Journal– Write down your thoughts, feelings and emotions, your joys and annoyances while pregnant.  Doing this can help declutter your mind and give you a sense of needed relief.  Taking note of what is causing you to feel stressful in your environment can be really helpful as well.

Relaxing Exercise– There are pregnancy exercises you can do like walking, leaning forward on an exercise ball (think about how much pregnant mamas  lean back), and butterflies (remember these cute exercises from when you were a child?).

Prayer and Meditation– Daily spending time praying and meditating on Scripture can help remove fear and increase your faith in a smooth pregnancy.  There are so many concerns and questions pregnant mamas may have; having a few Scriptures handy is helpful when we are in uncertain times.  This book, Supernatural Childbirth, I did a review on recently is really good to have on hand to help you pray prayers for pre, during and post pregnancy (plus while in labor)!

Supernatural Childbirth

Best of wishes on your coming baby, or if you’re just really proactive and preventative, I wish you the best on your way to being a mama one day! 

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Prayer: Father, I thank you for everyone reading this and pray that You will give them the strength they need, the wisdom they ask for and the health You promised that they may have a full term, strong pregnancy, a healthy baby in their loving mama arms. And I pray that they will overcome all fears of the days to come no matter what is in their family history or their own past. They deserve the best because that is what Christ died for. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

xoxo,

Jade Lee

A few Mama Scriptures:

You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.  Isaiah 26:3

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:13-14

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast.  From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.  Psalm 22:9-10

He will have no fear of bad news; he heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.  Psalm 112:7

 

 

Supernatural Childbirth

How to Have a Supernatural Childbirth (Book Review)

Supernatural ChildbirthThis is one of those books that should be in every woman’s library, even before she is pregnant, Supernatural Childbirth. 

I have been meaning to write a book review on this for months now and have finally found the time to squeeze in a few thoughts on a topic that is really special to my heart.

It may seem strange on one hand but very natural on the other that I would write on this topic as someone who has experienced the hard journey of infertility for years.  But that is what initially led me to it…I was looking for answers, for a resource I could use to pray over my womb.

And then I found Jackie Mize’s classic book.  And it has been a blessing to everyone I have been gifted to mentor over the years.

This book is full of wisdom, personal life stories, prayers and Scriptures you can pray over yourself before, during and post pregnancy.  It even includes a section on prayers for the delivery and shares how to overcome fear during the entire experience (which is a major struggle for almost every woman I have walked with through pregnancy).

So far, I’ve gotten a chance to play the role of a pastor’s wife/unofficial doula for 10 babies and we used this book in the process.  The woman I worked with would pray these prayers over their womb and we would actually see “Supernatural Childbirths.”

As we prayed, we noticed a trend begin to occur.  Seemless childbirths were happening, babies were being born almost completely pain free, the women were giving birth in four hours or less (in most cases) and the nurses were running into rooms in shock!

We knew it was the prayers and mental techniques these women were using. 

If that baby was holding on a little too long, as I walked into the room, we would simply pray a strong prayer and shortly thereafter the baby would arrive.  One time I prayed a prayer like that, went down to get food for the new mommy and dad, and by the time I returned the baby had already surprise us all with a Very Quick delivery.

Another time, the nurses all came running into the room because they could not believe the woman giving birth did so that calmly, with no pain until she was 10 centimeters dilated.

And the doula exclaimed, “We have to get you all to pray for all of the women we worked with!”

It was an act of God, and His original intention for how childbirth should occur…Before the fall of man, it was not so but due to Genesis 3:16 women begin to experience pain in childbearing:

To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

But now that consequence has been broken through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ:

But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law.  When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing.  For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  Galatians 3:13

If you have experienced a painful delivery or a fearful pregnancy, I would definitely recommend this book.  And if you have not experienced a pregnancy yet but are expecting, it is worth the try to read it, it really does make a difference.  Thirdly, if you are fighting infertility, many have read this book to take a stance against that struggle spiritually. 

But it is more an application that a reading book, so here is the link to begin your prayerful pregnancy journey and best of wishes to your new bundle of joy!

If you have any questions about my experiences using this book for infertility or to help moms please use the comments below or you can email me at info@jadelee.org  I really welcome your comments…Thanks!

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The Single and Happy Life

by Edleea Brewster

In College? Living for Christ? Feeling alone? Introducing JLO’s newest segment “Saved and in College”. Watch college student EdLeea Brewster as she encourages, motivates, and inspires girls to live for Christ with purpose while in college.

EPISODE #1- The Single and Happy Life

Being single isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when you are in college. You can easily feel like the outsider when everyone around you is in romantic relationship. Singleness is beautiful. It is a great time to serve the LORD wholeheartdly! Watch this video to be encouraged.

journaling

Healing Journaling to Find Your Voice

by Jade Lee

I vividly remember a few moments in my dorm room (years ago) when I needed to get all my thoughts out, one was to write a joy list in overcoming the blues, but the other was reading the Psalms.   I wasn’t on the path I should have been but hearing David’s vulnerability and authenticity in the Psalms was really comforting to me in my time of weakness, I was experiencing what I have now termed Biblical Healing Journaling.  If he could do it, then surely I could freely share what was on my heart, it was like his feelings were equivalent to mine, all I needed was love undeserved, beyond performance.

I have come to find that, like David, we need a way to express our inner lives.  Sometimes, this comes out with whoever we can trust, usually our nearest loved ones or friends.  But it doesn’t always get expressed in positive ways.  I sure have had my moments of trying to express in a healthy way then in quickly goes down hill with a blow up because we are talking about a sensitive topic.

Writing and reading are both very instrumental in creating a stronger self awareness in our lives.  And writing can be a way to ease the raw emotions before they are shared with others in anger or the fullness of frustration the shock causes us to feel.

My Story

I have always loved writing.  It is like second nature to me and was many times much easier than sharing with someone verbally.  I wrote short love stories, poems, journal entries and research papers.  But all of it was from my deepest place of self.  And that’s what I want to help you do, find your deepest sense of who you are then express it in a wholesome way.

journaling

When you write you can safely express whatever is on your heart.  Over the years as you mature in your voice, you will find that this can become an intricate language depending on who you are, or it may remain profoundly simple.

But combined with Scriptural truth, writing can be used very powerfully to heal our hearts and bring deep joy.

One day I began to realize how to write in a different way.  This was the day my writing became my prayer.  I noticed that I was going on a passage from deep heart stings, pressures and emotional duress to release, forgiveness and liberation.  

As I walked many women through mentorship and intimacy therapy I realized that this could be a great tool to help them accomplish a new state of being, they could live with all the windows on their emotional computer closed and their minds could be free of overload.

I started that day by writing everything that was on my mind when I first woke up, for many people that is when the wrestling match begins…words that you have processed from the day before come back up and you begin to wonder “why did they say that like that?”

For some simply casting down thoughts in general and moving on may work.  But I tend to be much more complex.  I need to literally see my thoughts in front of me then deal with them one by one.  (I can think a lot of thoughts at a time so I need a way to get it all out.)

I noticed that once it was all out on that sweet paper in my journal a sense of peace came over me.  And I felt healed!

I wrote vulnerably, free flowing, intricately from the deepest place of self awareness and pain.  And my pain became an electrifying tool to release strong emotions, questions, fears, challenges…without being hurtful to the hearer.  It became a filter guarding my loved ones from the worlds that only God could handle.

Because rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners.  But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.

Rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners.  But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.

The Shift

Once all of our words are out, our heart is empty and we sense “the release.”  At this point we go through the needed passage from pain to an elevated perspective.  We see through the eyes of God- that person, that situation, the words that hurt us.  

jlo mag

You can do it, just keep going, keep writing and be consistent! Let’s hold one another up in prayer.

Suddenly, it’s as if light begins to break through our darkness.  We are at the end of a gloomy tunnel.

This is what the Psalmist David, experienced in the lament psalms like Psalm 3:

“A psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

  1. O LORD, how many are my foes!  Many are rising against me;
  2. many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.  Selah
  3. But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
  4. I cried aloud to the lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.  Selah

In this passage David is running away from his son Absalom.  If you want to read the story read 2 Samuel 15:13-23.  But you may want to read 2 Samuel 14-18 if you want the entire narrative.  It is definitely a tear jerker.

Can you imagine running from your own son who wants to kill you?  There had to be some serious identity, soul searching emotions happening here.  Questions like, What did I did wrong?  Why does my own flesh and blood want me dead?  must have been combatting David’s warrior heart.

This was not your son or daughter sitting in a counseling office, it was them growing up to want to come after your life.  

But notice how David handled it, he wrote down his complaints to God.  He shared from the deepest places of his soul, “O LORD, how many are my foes!  Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.”

His reputation was being mocked, he was being chased, his life was on the line and he felt severe levels of rejection.  He expressed it freely to God, in a healthy dosage of desperation.

Release the Sting on Paper, Not on a Person

David’s situation was enough to make any marriage fall apart, friendships deteriorate and arguments to spring forth with children.  He had a lot to manage and his heart was full of disappointment.  

I’ve noticed that when I am in that position I am much more vulnerable to making poor choices and decisions I may live to regret.  

When my heart aches because someone gave me harsh criticisms like, “You’re not doing this right.”  “I don’t like what you are doing here, the way you minister, how you carry yourself.”  Or, “You need to do this…”  The sting of those words can pierce my tender heart.

I have also learned that if I don’t deal with the sting, try to keep it moving and forget about it, it will come up later because it is still buried deep without.  This can come out in many ways, but we don’t have time to address that in this article.

Journaling is a way to deal with the sting.  This is so helpful for anger management.  

It has helped me to release the sting on paper instead of on a loved one.

Then I can process the pain.  Many times when we feel pain the only words we have to express it are “I feel angry” or “I feel hurt”…”I can’t believe she had the nerve to say that,” “I don’t really feel anything.  I could care less.  They can’t bother me.”

But if we are going to heal, plus have healthy relationships, we need a more expansive vocabulary to communicate in a way that others can receive.

This is called Finding Your Voice and I will help you do that in our next article.

This is really all about self awareness.  Self Awareness is about being in tune with your feelings so that you can express those feelings appropriately to others including challenging upwards, sharing your preferences with peers and lovingly talking to those in your care.

Here are a list of emotions you can bring with you as you do healing journaling:

emotions_Plutchik-wheel

emotions2Using this list of emotions can be very helpful to articulate and even discover for yourself how you really feel about a comment, an action or a behavior of another.  It can also help you sort through how you feel about God in a situation or what you are in need of emotionally.

Not having a voice for your feelings oftentimes leads to one emotion: Anger.  That can then become passive aggressive (shut down) or aggressive (blow up).   Neither are healthy.

When We Hear God’s Voice

After the release in journaling you will being to see the light.  This is where it all makes sense.  God begins to speak to you.  Write down what you hear from Him.

If you need help in hearing His voice asking questions may be a great starting point:

Ask the Question- God is there anything you want me to know?  

  • How is God using this situation to heal me?
  • How is God using this situation to bring something to my attention?
  • How is God using this situation to help me grow?

Journal your thoughts and search the Bible for truth.  

Through this writing process you will find yourself seeing from a perspective beyond your own thoughts.  Maybe you write the psalmist key word, “But”…that is a sign of Transition.

“But God will use this to help others.”  “But I can handle this and that’s why I’ve been chosen for this challenge.”  “But I know these thoughts aren’t true.”  “But I am forgiven.”

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In transition you may feel small but are able to realize you are really at the top of the world, while seeming insignificant.

When you have all your thoughts on paper you can in a way see yourself as if you are looking from the outside in.  You can then medicate your pains with the Word of God.  Some phrases may have been initially expressed in your journaling session that you want to revisit:

“I feel like a failure.  I’m such a loser.  I always mess up.  I’m never going to get this right.”

These are trigger phrases to a negative thought pattern, they are signs towards why you may feel sad, depressed or angry.

This is empowering you to get the knowledge and understanding needed to identify the faulty thought processes you are encountering regularly.  You can now see the enemy’s lists and course correct these ideas with truth.

God’s Word is the truth we need:

For example if you wrote the thought, “I feel so ashamed.”

The Course Correction is Isaiah 61:7 For my shame I will have double and for confusion I will rejoice or 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Finally, like David, you are able to get your Confidence back in the midst of a Really hard, seemingly impossible situation.

And that is the Healing Journaling process.

My Prayer for you: Father, I thank you for every one who reads about this tool you are giving us as Your beloved children.  I pray that you will speak to our hearts through your Scriptures when we are in need of Your help.  Please give us the boldness to face ourselves, to grace to let go our our shame and the confidence to move forward with strength.  Remind us that your mercies are new every morning and You are a very present help in the time of need.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

My Challenge: I want to challenge you to do at least one healing journaling session this week.  Start with prayer and then use the 4 C’s based on the Lament Psalm.  Focus on Psalm 3 as an example:

  • The Complaint- Write down how you feel (Psalm 3:1-2)
  • The Conjunction- Write down your “but” statement (Psalm 3:3)
  • The Clarity- Write down your newfound Biblical clarity (Psalm 3:3-4)
  • The Confidence- Write down the confidence that you now have out of that clarity (Psalm 3:5-8)

I hope you have found this helpful and can use it frequently as another way to do the needed work of inner healing.

If you have any other ideas or questions that center around this concept of healing through writing I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.  They are Always Welcome!

Be Inspired.  Be Encouraged.  But Most Importantly…Be Transformed!

In His Love,

Jade Lee

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The Shops Buckhead Atlanta

This is what weekend’s are made of, opportunities to rest, relax, go shopping and enjoy luxurious scenery!  And that’s what you will find at one of my favorite shopping locations in Atlanta’s fine choices-  The Shops Buckhead Atlanta have some of the best designer clothiers plus sweet tea and coffee stops.  Here’s a few pics from my latest excursion:imageimageimageimageimageimage

 

Where to buy:

A similar-

White Peplum Dress- White House Black House- $69.99, Monroe & Main– $89.99-$99.99

Gold Open Toe Shoes- David’s Bridal– $39.95, Vince Camuto- $149.95, Kate Spade- $298.00

Classic Brown Tote Bag- Tory Burch- $525.00, Michael Kors- $202.91, BCBG- $57.99

Gold Aviator Sunglasses- RayBan- $150.00, Foster Grant- $20.00

Necklace- J. Crew- $30.00, INC Concepts- $39.95

Umbrella- Bloomingdales Little Brown Umbrella- $32.00

Like-a-Lady Tip: Always Purchase quality over quantity.  This means spend more money on real materials such as leather over polyester to invest in bags and shoes that will last for many years.  You will save money rather than repurchasing classics repeatedly.  Toddles!  

 

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The Importance of Friendships in Every Season of Life

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Life is full of seasons and each new season is like a new adventure of unchartered territory that brings with it exciting challenges and opportunities to grow and discover new things about yourself and others.

In any new season it can be a great time of transition, we may be in a new job, new location, or starting a new relationship. Transitions can often be a time of high stress for so many of us because they involve so much that is unfamiliar to us.

I hope to bring encouragement to every single person reading this article that it is possible to navigate new seasons, but only with others by your side.

At a young age I’ve experienced a handful of new seasons, all unique and precious that each taught me something new, yet one thing that remained consistent was my need for a community that was there to support me and provide much needed friendship and fellowship.

The best way I found to make new friends in new seasons or maintain friendships I had already cultivated was to realize the season I was in and to communicate realistic expectations to my friends. Below are seven common seasons many will experience throughout their life, however each person has their unique journey and may not experience every one of these seasons or in this order.

7 Common Seasons of Life:

1. Single and Dependent on Parents and Family (living at home)
2. Single and Partially Dependent on Parents and Family (living away from home, possibly in college)
3. Single and Financially Independent on Parents (living away from home, some call this stage “adulting” or “real life”)

4. Courtship (Pursuing a long term relationship unto marriage)

5. Marriage
6. New Parents
7. Seasoned family

God is so gracious that He offers us wisdom for every season and in fact He’s the one that brings us into new seasons. Daniel tells us, “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding” (Daniel 2:21).

Our Heavenly Father is the one who is completely sovereign over our lives. He’s the one who “changes the times” of our lives and who can “give wisdom” to us in every season!

Adjusting to new seasons can be difficult, I remember feeling at one point that a new season would begin right when I was getting comfortable with the previous one. Leaning on God and reaching out for help or companionship when I needed it was my saving grace.

From the seasons listed above, here is some practical advice to help in adjusting:

1. Single and Dependent on Parents and Family (living at home)
 There is not as much adjusting in this season since it is the first many of us experience, the best advice I have found is to simply enjoy this season and soak it up, building a strong relationship with each of your family members especially your parents. No matter how old we get we never outgrow our need for our parents.

2. Single and Partially Dependent on Parents and Family (living away from home, possibly in college)
 For so many, college represents the first of many huge transitions in a person’s life. It can be uncomfortable for some of us, but a great way to adjust in this season is to introduce yourself to new people, and try new things. Go to events and games and fully engage your college experience.

3. Single and Financially Independent from Parents (living away from home, some call this stage “adulting” or “real life”)
 Creating a support network of friends, family, and older mentors is invaluable in this season. What helped me the most in this season was realizing how much help I needed and reaching out for it and asking for advice from parents and mentors in my life.

4. Courtship (Pursuing a long term relationship unto marriage)
 Courtship or any relationship with marriage as the end goal is such a great time to build the foundation of friendship with your future spouse and best friend for life. Guidance from older mentors and parents is also great to help adjust and prepare for the next season of engagement and marriage.

5. Marriage
 A great way to adjust in this season is to find other young couples to grow with and older couples to glean from. Read more on making and maintaining friendships in this season in the JLO article, “Why You’ll Always Need Girlfriends, even After the Wedding Day”.

6. New Parents
 This is the stage I find myself in now as the mommy to Elijah, our beautiful one and a half year old son. Being a mom has been one of the most fulfilling and also challenging experiences for me, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

More than ever it’s caused me to lean on the support of other older mothers in my life for wisdom and encouragement. I remember when I first came from the hospital, friends came over just to hold Elijah as I took a nap, or to see if I needed assistance on any miscellaneous household chores. It has only been a little over a year but the best way I’ve found to adjust in this season is to reach out to friends and family for support.

7. Seasoned Family
 This is a season I’ve never experienced myself, but have learned from others who have, that a good way to adjust is to keep God at the center of your family and relationships, and to stay connected with others.

I hope this article as helped bring more guidance on adjusting to every season in life and the importance of community and friendships in each season!

What season are you in now and what have you learned about connecting with friends and loved ones? We value your insight and experiences!