Tag Archives: stress

Four Lessons Learned

Four Lessons from “The Little Engine That Could”

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A while ago I wrote this article on another platform. I thought you would enjoy it and learn what a little book can teach us. It’s amazing what lessons we can learn from children’s books.

This past weekend I had the delightful job to read to my 3-year-old granddaughter. She chose “The Little Engine That Could”. Not only do I remember reading this book to my children but I remember reading it as a child. And I remember reading to my grade ones when I taught school.

The history of the book goes through several versions until Arnold Munk with the pen name of Watty Piper, wrote and had it published in 1930. Lois Lenski did the first pictures. An updated version, published in 1954 had colourful illustrations by George and Doris Hauman. This is the version I remember and the one that is on the children’s bookshelf.

As I read the story to my granddaughter I got excited about how the story built up emotion and taught lessons on the way.

The story is about a little train who wants to bring presents over the hill to children in another town. They are patiently and excitedly awaiting their gifts. However, on the way to the town, the little engine breaks down. The toys are very upset and the funny little clown sets off to find another train to help them.

As they go to the different trains asking for help, I thought about all the things we put faith in here on earth instead of what God would want us to.

Four Faith Lessons from Four Trains

We put much status into buying new things. There is always a new widget or gizmo that we want to have. Cellphones and computers top the list for new innovations and the need to have the latest model.

This release of new gizmos is gaining momentum each year.

When I stop to think about it we purchased our first computer in 1989 — it was an amazing TI99 4/A. And we watched it on our TV. (Hubby and I are trying to remember all this.) I know we purchased a used Apple IIe after that. I think I did some early programming on that machine. It couldn’t do much but it fascinated me.

Lessons

TI99 4/A similar to the one we had.

Lessons

Apple IIe like our second computer.

But ever since those first computers, things have moved swiftly forward. Newer and better.

Do we look down on things that aren’t perfect and shiny; that aren’t new?

Personally, I love refurbishing old things to make them new. I like things that are made of wood not plastic.

Lessons

My grandfather’s end table that I refurbished years ago.

When we were younger we didn’t take a car loan. Instead, we bought used cars and saved our money. As long as the car ran that’s all that mattered. We still often buy used cars because the depreciation on a new vehicle is ridiculous. Check it out before you decide on your next vehicle.

But the shiny New Engine didn’t want to help the little toy train because he was too special — too proud. He looked down on the little train and said a resounding “NO”.

2.) Next comes a Big Engine:

We always think might is right and power makes things happen. But if we look throughout history we see the powerful fall from their towers. They topple down. They can’t keep up the illusion.

“Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:17–18, The Message).”

Bigger is better, right? Let’s look at the monster homes of this age.

Why do we need so much space? What’s the purpose?

When we downsized from our family home (the first time), we bought a small townhome. I enjoyed the two years we lived there. There was more time to get out and do things — not being tied to looking after a big home.

Bigger isn’t better. Look at your needs, not at your wants. Enjoy what you have now. Save for the future. Take experiences (playing in the park, walking somewhere new) instead of putting out big bucks for new and big items.

I thought about the Christian church — bigger is not always better. In fact when you get so many people joining how can you be sure that they are in fellowship with one another?

I love this article:

But the Big Engine says he is too important and won’t “pull the likes of you”.

Sometimes we do get tired and defeated. We figure we are too old, or not useful. The defeatist attitude stalks our every moment.

I think these thoughts need to be taken captive as I have learned that Christ gives me strength.

Here is a great article on Crosswalk.com about taking your thoughts captive:

A couple of years ago I volunteered to run a VBS at our church. From the first day, I caught a really bad cold and cough. I didn’t know how I was going to keep going. I kept praying. And I kept going.

The minister set up a microphone system so I could talk softly into it and the kids could hear me. Actually, I found the entire week filled with peace. The kids sensed the need to work well and quietly. We had fun.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13, NIV).”

But the Rusty Old Engine sighed and said he could not. He was too tired and weary.

A Little Blue Engine comes chugging merrily along. The dolls and toys don’t have to ask this train for help, she asks them what’s wrong. She tells them she isn’t very big and has never been over the mountain.

Do you sometimes feel that a job is too big for you to handle?
Do you feel overwhelmed with the details and difficulty of the task?

Well, this little engine can teach us lessons.

She thought of what the kids would be missing if this little train didn’t bring the gifts to the boys and girls on the other side of the mountain.

And then she said: I think I can. I think I can. It was a supreme effort but she kept chugging along saying — I think I can.

If there are times you don’t think you can do something — ask Jesus. He is right there to give you the strength, courage or inspiration to get the job done.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:10, NIV).”

If there are times you need to go somewhere or do something you have never attempted, remember from scripture:

“but the righteous are bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1, NIV).”

Lessons

Bible Art by Janis Cox

And the Little Blue Engine pulled that train up the mountain and down into the town to deliver the presents to the boys and girls.

These were my discoveries as I read this book to my granddaughter. Certainly, there are 4 good life lessons to get from this tiny book.

  1. Don’t be swayed by new things.
  2. Bigger is not necessarily better.
  3. Even when you feel unable to do a task, Jesus can strengthen you.
  4. Say: I think I can. Then be bold and do it.

Stress? 9 Simple Ways To Reduce It

How Do You Handle Stress?

Stress had grabbed my entire body.

Stress

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Recently I realized I had been making my days to be full with no time to just sit and breathe. I would either be on the computer, painting, doing woodworking, making meals, seeing shows, dancing, going for walks or at the gym. S

I read the newspaper during breakfast.

I checked my phone at lunch.

It was only at dinner that hubby and I turned off our devices and concentrated on talking. That usually led to fact-checking on the computer. lol 🙂

My husband and I seldom get mad at each other — certainly not yelling. But this week it happened. I lost my temper — big time.

I felt tired, anxious, upset and mad.

This had happened before!

I wrote about how I felt and how not to get into that situation again. I was stressed.

I’ve written before about that lesson. I have to keep reviewing the lessons myself.

Why Do Fights Start and How to Stop Them?

But I realized seeing the stress is not enough.

I needed to look at this deeper. To look at days gone by and learn again so I don’t go down into this mire again. God teaches us to remember in His Word.

Remember your history,
    your long and rich history. (Isaiah 46:9, MSG)

Former memories

This past week reminded me of years ago.

As soon as we started our business, I went back to work as a part-time teacher because there had to be some income and extra health benefits and life insurance. In our second year of business, I went back to full-time teaching while still helping with the business. I also took courses for credit in my teaching profession. And I signed up to be the one in charge of all the athletics in our school.

Family Life

We had three kids ages 14, 12 and 8. They were in three different schools at one time; high school, junior high and public school. Juggling all those balls took a toll on me, and wrecked my body because I didn’t know how to stop taking on too many things.

I didn’t know I needed to stop.

I didn’t know how to stop.

Over the next five years, my health took a slide downwards.

I couldn’t walk upstairs (knee problems). Lifting my hand above my shoulder (writing on the blackboard became increasingly difficult). I developed TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction) so my jaw was very sore. Because I clenched my teeth at night,  my whole body ached.

I got angry easily. I yelled. I complained. I ranted.

I was fearful, and not healthy.

I felt stressed every minute of the day.

I was a mess.

Stress

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I decided to take a half-time position in teaching to see if that helped. I visited a physiotherapist and massage therapist.

But I still kept doing things.

I didn’t stop.

I decided to take a leave of absence from teaching for 2 years. But I went back to our business and upgraded our technology, expanded our office space, and hired two employees. I didn’t stop.

It took some time but finally, I understood.

Two things happened

  1. I saw the problem.
  2. I worked at the problem.

A decorative plate reminded me to “stop and smell the roses”. This is what finally helped me — to slow down, take breaks, be still.

We still have this plate in our collection.

stress

From my personal collection.

In this world that seems to be running faster and faster, we need to STOP.

The quality of time you have for downtime is important to your mental and physical health. It helps deal with stress.

Here are 9 ways to reclaim your peace and health and reduce stress

  • Take breaks during the day. Even 10 minutes can refresh your spirit, mind and soul. Take a stroll (notice I didn’t say walk) through somewhere green — with life surrounding you. Dance around for a few minutes to release tension.
  • Take deep breaths once an hour to bring in the needed oxygen to your brain.
  • Plan vacations. Even small times away can refresh our bodies and spirits.
  • Date nights. If you are married, plan date nights with your spouse. Honestly, we forget to do that in our hurried lifestyles. Soon we drift apart. Be there to just be there, to enjoy each others’ company.
  • Turn off social media. This has been something that takes away from life — it doesn’t give life. We crave the dopamine that it elicits and we want more. We check our phones way too often. [I am guilty of this.]
  • Make a list. Sit down and look at all that you do. List everything out. Then circle the things that give you pleasure. Put a line under the things that have to be done anyway. See what remains. See if you can drop those things.
  • My Quiet spot. Whatever you want to call this — find time to be in a quiet spot. If you are a Believer, then sit with Jesus. Discuss things. If you are not, then sit with yourself and talk to yourself. And in both cases LISTEN to what you hear.
  • Read. Get a good book and plan time to sit and read. Not scan like we tend to do on computers. But read the book for enjoyment — not for what you can write about it later. lol 🙂 [I am at fault for this.]
  • Listen or play music. That has a very calming effect on our souls. Classical music is wonderful to enjoy.

I am not there yet. As I read over my thoughts I need to do at least 4 things. Hopefully, as I do these my mind, body and spirit will recover. I especially need to focus on number 6.

 

To keep stress at bay I need to stop and smell the roses.

How about you?

My favourite verse from the Bible:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

May I pray for you and me?

Lord, there are so many opportunities to “do” things. All may be good but all might not be in Your will or purpose for us. Help us to focus on Your voice so we can choose only those things that will do Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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If you want to join a group that studies God’s Word together come over to Facebook, Growing through God’s Word.

Watch for Sunday’s post – it has a linky for sharing your Christian poetry.

Blessings,

Janis

 

Three Ways to Surrender All to God

I want to Surrender to God but I don’t know How

Today is 5-Minute Friday and the prompt is SURRENDER. Five minutes to write… Set the timer. GO.

surrender

Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash

As I surrender to God I ask Him to give me the words to write. I think back – to the year 2000. That’s when I did life mostly all by myself. I felt as if my stress level was huge.

I felt burdened with the cares of this world.

surrender

But the Lord turned me around and gave me this scripture that I have memorized from 1 Peter 5:7.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

That’s exactly what I needed to do. And I did. The pain went away. I slept well. I didn’t worry about much any more, because I knew  – I really knew that God had it under control.

And the next memorized Scripture was:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

To surrender takes work. It takes time. It takes trust.

My life has changed. Yours can too. Surrender to God.

Are you stressed? Do you feel as if you life is out of control? Do you want to be closer to Jesus? Do you need to surrender to Jesus?

I’m working to help you. At the moment I have two ways to help you find the way to surrender to Him.

  1. I run a Facebook Group that is safe, and comfortable. It’s where we can grow closer to God; where we can study His Word. Join us. Growing Through God’s Word.
  2. There is an exciting opportunity for all believers to dig deeper into their faith. We will be studying David Kitz’s book, “The Soldier Who Killed a King”. Starting February 14. But for the next 6 days we are offering free books as well (for as long as they last). So join us. Book study With David Kitz and Janis Cox. 

surrender

3 Ways to Surrender All

  1. Get up with God. Pray and connect. Go to bed with God. Pray and thank Him for the day.
  2. Pick up your Bible and read something. Then journal, draw and/or meditate on it throughout the day.
  3. Join somewhere with believers. I have given you 2 ideas. There are many more.

If any one needs prayer, please feel free to contact me. (Email Janis).

surrender

Sunday Stillness – Jesus Calling -08/26

Sunday Stillness – Jesus Calling -08/26

Jesus-Calling-0826

So many times in the past few weeks God is reminding me of His Peace. Last week I drew a picture of a dove and this reminds me that He is our Peace.

Oswald Chambers said:

Look up and receive the undisturbedness of the Lord Jesus (Oswald Chambers, August 26).

If I focus on the problem I can obliterate God. (tweet this)

Jesus told us to let not our hearts be troubled. (John 14:1)

So I need to do exactly what I read in Jesus Calling – detach from the disturbances around me.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:11, NIV).

Please find time to detach from your world around you. Seek Jesus right now – find His Peace so you can relax and not let the circumstances touch your spirit.

We are still travelling in Poland. Can’t wait to tell you everything God is doing. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter. See the sidebar.

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Today is Sunday Stillness.

Do you have a Scripture that spoke to you this week? Please link below. If you post to Twitter use #sundaystillness and @authorjaniscox.

Feel free to pin the picture. Follow me at AuthorJanisCox on Pinterest.

I would love it if you would subscribe to my blog. See the sidebar to enter your email address.

Read the Sunday Stillness rules if you are new here.

I would appreciate if you would link only about God’s Word. If you have a linky party that’s okay if it is about the same thing. Please no sales or prizes. I want this to be friendly but I must ask you to abide by the rules. Others want to read God’s Word – and that is what I would like the links to be about. I must take down the links that don’t follow the rules. Thanks so much.

JOIN THE SUNDAY STILLNESS COMMUNITY – 
READ OTHER POSTS AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER.

Please check out all the places I link to during the week. Thanks to everyone who has joined Sunday Stillness. I do try to get to your posts every week but I admit sometimes I don’t have the time.

Here are my favourite links for Sunday Stillness:

The Sunday Community

Still Saturday

 Sharing His Beauty

Missional Women – Faith Filled Fridays

Scripture and Snapshot

http://christianmommyblogger.com

The Weekend Brew



Sunday Stillness – 1 Corinthians 14:33

Sunday Stillness – 1 Corinthians 14:33

1-Corinthians-14-33

As I prepare to go away on my trip to Poland this Scripture was highlighted in Jesus Calling. Perfect for me. As you know when you plan to go away there are many things to do. But God is the planner – He knows what to do – He gives me the time, and the peace to do it.

So I did a little sketch to remind me of this Scripture. Sometime I will get back to painting  pictures with my watercolours. But in the meantime the watercolour pencils are fun – but it was hard to make a light wash so I used my fingertips.

Right now we should be in Warsaw, Poland. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today is Sunday Stillness.

Do you have a Scripture that spoke to you this week? Please link below. If you post to Twitter use #sundaystillness and @authorjaniscox.

Feel free to pin the picture. Follow me at AuthorJanisCox on Pinterest.

I would love it if you would subscribe to my blog. See the sidebar to enter your email address.

Read the Sunday Stillness rules if you are new here.

I would appreciate if you would link only about God’s Word. If you have a linky party that’s okay if it is about the same thing. Please no sales or prizes. I want this to be friendly but I must ask you to abide by the rules. Others want to read God’s Word – and that is what I would like the links to be about. I must take down the links that don’t follow the rules. Thanks so much.

JOIN THE SUNDAY STILLNESS COMMUNITY – 
READ OTHER POSTS AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER.

Please check out all the places I link to during the week. Thanks to everyone who has joined Sunday Stillness. I do try to get to your posts every week but I admit sometimes I don’t have the time.

Here are my favourite links for Sunday Stillness:

The Sunday Community

Still Saturday

 Sharing His Beauty

Missional Women – Faith Filled Fridays

Scripture and Snapshot

http://christianmommyblogger.com

The Weekend Brew



FOUNDATIONAL PRAYERS

Foundational Prayers

by Jan Cox

When I am at peace, resting in the Word of God, prayer comes easily. My brain and my heart engage together. I can do my daily prayers, my breath prayers and use all interruptions to speak to God.

However, when a crisis happens, I am ill or I am stressed from taking too much on, my brain and heart do not work well together. I feel at a loss and my prayer life falls apart. I then rely on others to pray for me.

This is not always true as sometimes real prayers from the heart emerge in times of deep suffering and stress.

However for the most part during these empty times I miss the Spirit that strengthens and heals me.

One solution that I have found to help me is foundational prayers.These words said as prayers can hold me up during these drought periods.

One is the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV) the other is the 23rd Psalm (Psalm 23 KJV). These have become my solid footing in time of need.

Having committed them to memory a long time ago, they can flow freely from my heart without my brain being fully engaged.

Do you have foundational prayers?

Even though I have comments disabled I love to hear from my readers. So feel free to email me anytime at Under the Cover of Prayer.

My Gratitude List for the Week.

63. Two ducks in the garden treading carefully over the stones

64. Friends waiting for me at home

65. Family waiting for me at home

66. Quiet mornings with God

67. A friend seeking Christ

68. Walking in the sunshine with my husband and our dog, Snowball

69. Eating bananas – I love bananas

Prayer:

Thank You, Father, for your Word that is filled with the truth. We are grateful that Your words can fill us with peace, stir our hearts and challenge our minds. Continue to instill in us a desire to know You more. In Jesus’ name. AMEN