Open your mouths with thanks!

Sing praises to the Eternal!

Strum the harp in unending praise to our God

Who blankets the heavens with clouds,

sends rain to water the thirsty earth,

and pulls up each blade of grass upon the mountainside.

He opens His hands to feed all the animals

and scatters seed to nestlings when they cry.

He takes no pleasure in the raw strength of horses; He finds no joy in the speed of the sprinter. But the Eternal does take pleasure in those who worship Him, those who invest hope in His unfailing love.

Psalm 147:7-11, The Voice

‘Tis that time of year when the To-Do list grows faster than the items getting checked off of it. 

Some of the traditional must do’s for me begin before Advent even starts. The first or second weekend in November, my family and I make Lefse. Then, of course, there is the Thanksgiving prep and feast. Immediately after Thanksgiving, we decorate the inside of the house on Friday and the exterior of the house on Saturday. Then the need to purchase and mail gifts to our family out of state. It continues with the gifts and festivities for those here in Arizona. And, because I’m not tired enough already, let’s not forget to fit in the “regular” life items, such as job and family commitments.

Maybe this is you, too. All of a sudden you look up and realize you are stressed out and exhausted. And worst of all, you realize you didn’t enjoy what you should have, like your kids’ music recitals, school plays, or time with others. It all became a thing to check off your To-Do list.

You see, the problem is we forget to slow down and enjoy what is right in front of us all along. We try to do it all on our own. Why? Because we don’t ask for help. Or we think it’ll get done “the right way,” or better, if we just do it ourselves.

We forget that God never intended for us to do things alone. Yes, even during the holiday season! From the very beginning, he created two people to work alongside each other and to help each other. Verse 10 says, “God takes NO PLEASURE in the raw strength of horses.” Yes, we can push through on our own, but that is not what pleases God. He made us to be strong, no doubt, but we are stronger when we have others to help us. He does not want us to suffer and to bear things on our own.

Verse 10 continues with, “He finds NO JOY in the speed of the sprinter.” 


Enjoy what is around you. Look at the creation He has placed in front of you. Put your phone away. This season, enjoy your time with others so much that you forget to take pictures to post on your social media page.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the reminder that we are never alone – and you never intended us to be. We ask you to show us ways to slow down. Help us to deepen our relationship with you and those you have placed around us, and in doing so, find the Hope you bring this Advent season. Amen.

Reflect on this:
What are some things you can take off your To-Do list in order to help you slow down? Who is someone you can ask to help with something on your To-Do list – someone who brings you joy?

Louise Gahm lives in San Tan Valley, AZ

I’ve been married for 24 years with 2 kids. We’re entering into the next life stage of being empty nesters. I enjoy keeping fluent in my heritage language of “Uffdah,” “You betcha” and “Don’t ya know.”

15 replies
  1. kristoajk
    kristoajk says:

    Wow Louise!!!! You “nailed it”!! Surely I will not be the only one to feel that way!!! The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving were stressful enough preparing for a trip out east to celebrate with my son and family making goodies to take and small personal gifts to share. Once I arrived a peace overcame me and I just enjoyed my family and for the first time ever did not insist on taking pictures? Now I am preparing to travel to Chicago for Christmas and thankfully experiencing less stress even though doing the same things!! What a wonderful gift the Lord gave me!! That peace remains and I am really enjoying it!!! Thank you for your advice!!!

    • lgahm22
      lgahm22 says:

      Youre welcome. That feeling of peace is like none other. It’s a true peace. Enjoy your time with family in Chicago.

  2. Debbie Nahodil
    Debbie Nahodil says:

    Louise, thank you so much for the reminder to slow down and enjoy each moment. I often feel like God puts slow drivers in my way on purpose and I can hear Him saying, “What’s your hurry? Just relax and breathe!” I think we can all use that reminder when life becomes so crazy that we get lost in the busyness of it all. Hope you have a wonderful day enjoying all the little things 😊

    • lgahm22
      lgahm22 says:

      I was riding with my daughter yesterday and she kept getting red lights. I told her it was God’s way of telling her slow down she’ll get to where she was going on time, no need to rush.

  3. Betty
    Betty says:

    What a great time to remember what is really important in our lives this time of year. Thank you for reminding us!!

  4. Julie Kurz
    Julie Kurz says:

    This is so true and a good reminder! Thank you, Louise. How many Christmas’ did I miss welcoming Jesus and truly celebrating His coming! I’m working on this and trying to be more intentional now.

    • lgahm22
      lgahm22 says:

      You’re welcome. It takes lots of practice and then more practice after that. You are surrounded by lots of women to help you.

  5. Jerri givens-neely
    Jerri givens-neely says:

    When I was in college, I was in a car accident and broke most of the bones in my body. For a period of time, I was paralyzed from the waist down. I had to learn to walk again. As I would practice and practice, my dad would say, “It’s a good thing we’re tough”. He helped me everyday. I would cry and he would say, “It’s a good thing we’re tough”.
    9 months ago, I had a knee replacement. It didn’t go well, because of previous injuries. As I was learning to walk again, I had a little PTSD. I could hear my dad saying, “it’s a good thing we’re tough”. My dad has been dead for 7 years, and for the first time I heard the words we’re tough. Not you’re tough! My family and I, God and I, my friends and I are tough and we can do this. I learned to walk again!

    • lgahm22
      lgahm22 says:

      Dad’s have a way of speaking to their daughters that just connect to us like no one else. He is still with you and speaking to you along your journey of healing.

  6. maryroseroloff
    maryroseroloff says:

    I, too, need to slow down and do so appreciate the message. The slowing down gives me time to watch that bird in the tree, see that cool cloud, notice the look on the baby’s face, etc., etc. Slowing down can be a strength in that I can then focus on that neighbor, doing that task lovingly, or connecting with my God right there and then, not “later.”

    We, too, in my family are “strong.” Strong to trust in God as we ourselves or our loved one suffer with some awful disease or surgery. When I am weakest, God is strongest and “we two” can be strong together. “I look to the hills from whence comes my strength.” “You betcha!”


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