A Moment of Thanks – An Excerpt from My Book

“All you need to know is that someone cares. A small detail, but it’s enough to turn your life around. Love changes things.” ~Zina

While in the hospital at sixteen I kept a journal, and each night at midnight—under my covers, with a flashlight in one hand and a pencil and pad in the other with music playing in the background—I would write. Here is one journal entry:

Dear God,

I believe You are with me—listening and answering my prayers. I feel lucky to have You. I’ve opened my heart, and I’m trying to more. I don’t know how I got so lucky because before the accident, I didn’t know how You worked. But now I have found myself, I know who I am, what I want, and where I’m going.

I was thankful God saved me, and because of the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, hospital staff, and even families of the other children– I felt worthy. I think love has the power to do that, take a broken teenager, and make them feel whole.

In moments of despair I can revisit this place, it will make anything I’m upset about small. Can you be thankful for a time in your life when things could’ve been worse? Focus on how God’s saving grace helped you. It is an act of THANKSGIVING!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest blogs, newsletters, medical journals, and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit: http://zinahermez.com.

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7 Tips to Keep the Holiday Cheer!

Have you thought about your goals this holiday season? Any New Year’s resolutions? Have you thought about ways to stay healthy? Or keep the holiday cheer? Holidays are fun but can be a demanding, busy time as we try to meet the needs of our family and friends. There are gifts to be bought, turkeys to be cooked, and trees to be put up!

During this hectic period, it’s easy to feel a lot of stress. In giving, the giver feels just as rewarded as the receiver, if not more. However, we sometimes forget to give to ourselves. In your time of giving, don’t neglect your own needs. This will help to reduce anxiety, and keep you calm throughout the season.

Would you like to improve your finances? Volunteer? Do you want to feed the poor? Maybe you want to make some healthy lifestyle choices such as eating better, or losing weight? Whatever your goals, I wish you success!

Let’s prepare to stay merry. Here are some tips to keep you in the holiday spirit!

  1. Be thankful – Nurture a thankful heart. It’s hard to be unhappy when your heart is brimming with thanks! By changing your attitude, you can experience joy even when circumstances don’t change.
  2. Trust – Develop the trust that life will provide you with what you need. Serenity comes from contentment with what you have.
  3. Forgive – Let go of resentment and remorse which wastes energy on yesterday. Forgive and live today.
  4. Give to yourself – Give yourself compassion and understanding. Recognize your abilities and value.
  5. Savor life – Enjoy the taste of cranberry bread, the smell of Christmas cookies, the sight of sunrise.
  6. Do something for someone in need – Write a letter to a lonely friend, make a phone call to an ill relative, or bake a pumpkin pie to welcome your new neighbors.
  7. Love – Remember the deeper truth of life – you are loved. When you feel holiday stress, remember the voice of God who beckons, “Come to me when you are weary, and I will give you rest.”

May your holiday and New Year be filled with joy, happiness, and peace.

Happy Thanksgiving!

–  This holiday letter is reposted from a newsletter I edited for health care