My City Grieves

23 May

I am from Buffalo, NY.

We are home to the Buffalo Sabres hockey team and the Buffalo Bills football team. There are other smaller sports that folks in Buffalo follow, and the community is into museums, music, theater, the waterfront, amazing restaurants and the close proximity to Niagara Falls. I could go on.

We are not a big city and we are not a small town. We are the butt of many a weather joke and people often don’t get our identity as a mid-sized metropolitan area with a neighborhood feel. Some say there is only a degree or two of separation from one Buffalonian to another because we all “know someone who knows someone.” But much of the world had not really known us until now. As of last week we became known as the town with the grocery store massacre.

And the city grieves.

We grieve the loss of innocent people doing their regular old Saturday grocery run being gunned down by a crazed killer.

We grieve the fact that someone had to drive 4 hours to our region to do the dirty deed.

We grieve all the racial interpretations that led to this tragedy and we grieve that the mere color of someone’s face makes them a target.

God grieves, too.

God does not want hatred in this world. God does not want hatred in people, and does not want hatred present in anyone’s heart.

But not everyone knows God and follows a righteous path. Not everyone wants to know God and follow a righteous path.

And so we suffer pain, distrust, anguish, sin and grief.

I have no answers. I have few words, but I utter a prayer to my Lord that his beloved watchful eye will be on my community and his powerful hand will be on the healing.

And for those who believe it is true to hate those who look different, I say look around!

NO ONE looks the same. EVERYONE looks different.

But deep inside we love the same.

My city grieves and I pray for healing to come.


Inadequate?

20 May

NEVER!

I saw a quote in a book recently that said this: “We are never inadequate because we always have a beyond all you can imagine God living in us.” –Holley Gerth

Such an optimistic statement that is! I love the thought of God erasing inadequacies I may feel so I can concentrate on my love for life and for those within it.

Holley Gerth goes on to share a prayer which I have paraphrased:

“God, when our to-do list feels long, and our day feels short remind us that all we have to do is what you would ask. Free us from unrealistic expectations, for taking on more than you would ever ask and for wearing ourselves out to prove our worth. Remind us we are NOT inadequate and whatever we offer day in and day out is more than enough when placed in your hands.”

Yes, God, I AM adequate. In your eyes I am MORE than adequate because I am made in your perfect image. That does not make me perfect, but it makes me blessed.

Thomas Merton was a Trappist Monk , writer and theologian.

He said:

To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love.

Father Knows Best

18 May

That was the title of a television show in another century. I only know the show by name but have no real memory of its theme or characters, so I turned to Wikipedia. The show actually began as a radio broadcast then it was reinvented for a television debut in 1954 and ran through 1960. It was described as the story of an idyllic family living somewhere in the Midwest that portrayed family love and values for the viewing audience. One of the early commercial sponsors of the show was Kent cigarettes, ironically. I rather chuckle at the thought.

Perhaps I grew up in the shadow of that TV program as I lived in the Midwest and my dad rather ruled. My mom would sometimes defer to him for family decisions and there I was thinking “Father knows best,” even if I only knew OF the show rather than knowing the show in its full form.

Frankly, my heavenly father knows even more!

He blesses me, he loves me and gives me grace and care at any moment of any day.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

THE FATHER knows best.

Prayer for a Hurt World

16 May

God, your love is amazing and your strength even more grand than can ever be imagined, but I feel I cannot reach you. My eyes are wide open, and I see world pain and I wonder where you are and what I can do. Of course, I believe your love will win. Of course, I believe your watchful eye is on the world, but I sometimes wonder if anyone even notices, appreciates or respects your power.

Faith tells me to trust your wisdom and your ways, but my human nature sometimes tells me that I stand on shaky ground and your wisdom is elusive.

Help!

Help me!

Help me see!

Help me see you and know that your ways are better than mine and may my trust increase, and my fears decrease as I navigate a highly uncertain world.

AMEN.

Am I Stuck?

13 May

Did you ever feel you might be locked between a rock and a hard place? That of course suggests being in a place with no easy way out. There you feel pinched in this uncomfortable place and it is frustrating, discouraging and sometimes infuriating.

You may cry out, “Help, is anyone listening?”

You feel alone.

I have had moments like this. It may have been a disagreement that could not be resolved. It may have been an undesirable change at work or a plumbing event that could not repair itself and I have wanted to cry out, “Help!”

I don’t want to be pedestrian or simplistic and say “God will help,” because sometimes we do not turn there first and the reminder of his availability may make us uncomfortable or sad that we did not go there first. Human nature calls us to be dramatic sometimes, prone to hyperbole and distracted at length before we turn to the Lord, but in all reality, isn’t that where we should go first?

The beautiful hymn below says so. It speaks of faithfulness, trust, love and patience from the Almighty.

The lyricist for this great piece was Civilla D. Martin, a pastor’s wife and school teacher in the early 1900’s. It is believed she wrote over 500 pieces of poetry many of which were set to music like the one below.

Be not dismayed whate’er betide
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings of love abide
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through every day, o’er all the way
He will take care of you
God will take care of you

No matter what may be the test
God will take care of you
Lean, weary one, upon His breast
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through every day, o’er all the way
He will take care of you
God will take care of you

He will take care of you
God will take care of you

After reading those words are you still feeling stuck?

Free!!

11 May

Who loves that word?

“Buy one get one…FREE!”

Freedom!

“Free to a good home.” (We one time got a dog that way.)

The word invokes positive feelings and near excitement at the thought of something coming to us at no cost. Of course the cynics will offer that “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” But most of us relish the hopeful feeling that accompanies the word free.

Once again, I reference the Holley Gerth book called WHAT’S TRUE ABOUT YOU.

She writes how freedom means being broken away from that which would hold us back. Her word images show us a space of grace and love instead of feeling confined and defined by outside forces. She then leaps to the freedom we can find in Christ. She speaks of fresh air to breathe in Christ’s world. She shares that our connection to him expands our own small worlds so we don’t feel stuck, immovable and void of possibilities. Instead we have help and hope. She claims we are not meant to walk a tightrope, but rather, we are designed to dance. And we shall not dance alone, but indeed with others!

The book of Galatians tells us this in 5:3:

 “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.”

Don’t be shy about the word slaves in the reference. Rather see the word SERVANT, that indeed our focus of freedom will shift away from our own indulgences and be spread as indulgence over others.

Find your freedom today and share it freely!

Her Story

9 May

She rises early

With much to do on a given day.

Her mind may race

With many ideas flowing

In her busy brain.

She is called to love–

Those in close proximity,

Those in need,

Those she may cherish and

Those who annoy.

Each to be viewed with a careful eye

And a warm heart.

And the day exhausts itself.

She feels the exhaust.

Sliding into bed

After a long day of giving

She weeps a bit, prays much,

Sighs and opens her heart for

A new day that awaits.

That is her story–

Day in, day out.

Sleep and a dream

perhaps will occur overnight,

She is open to both.

May she feel blessed in her quest.

At the dawn of a new day

She begins again.

Is she YOU?

Is she your mom?

Was she your mom?

God gave mothers much to do.

God gave women much to do.

Make the most of your day

Saving some time for YOU!

AMEN!

Take Care

6 May

Thanks for the support!!

spiritandsoul.net

I say that A LOT! Sadly when I say it the feeling of habit may be more present than the actual message that is destined. It is a lovely statement, though, as we wish for others to live carefully, do things throughout the day with thought and intention.

The word care by definition calls up these synonyms:

safe keeping

protection

awareness

I suspect we might also see the word intentional connected to the spirit of the word care.

Is care something you like to give or receive? Has anyone asked you that before? Does it make you hesitant to answer? Does it provoke thought or inspire ideas?

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

That reference is from Philippians 4:19 and it tells us of the care God gives to us. There’s more!

Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I…

View original post 115 more words

Take Care

6 May

I say that A LOT! Sadly when I say it the feeling of habit may be more present than the actual message that is destined. It is a lovely statement, though, as we wish for others to live carefully, do things throughout the day with thought and intention.

The word care by definition calls up these synonyms:

safe keeping

protection

awareness

I suspect we might also see the word intentional connected to the spirit of the word care.

Is care something you like to give or receive? Has anyone asked you that before? Does it make you hesitant to answer? Does it provoke thought or inspire ideas?

” And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

That reference is from Philippians 4:19 and it tells us of the care God gives to us. There’s more!

Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Back to my earlier question…truth be told, I like both! I like to give care and receive care. Some prefer one over the other and that is okay. In general, though, I think balance is best; a little give and take.

C reating an opportunity for

A ll to

R ightly

E xperience love, peace and joy

AMEN!

Spring

4 May

Spring is a hopeful time.

Desirous of sun and warmth

We grow impatient.

I see buds!

The lower temperatures belie the truth.

I see snow!

Such a failed feeling it brings.

I see nesting birds!

How precious…their young

Will be raised nearby.

God, you have blessed me with the seasons.

Help my hopeful heart!

Amen.

Spring Prayer

2 May

Dearest Powerful and Artistic God–

I thank you for the season of spring. You offer us lush green grass, pretty little leaves budding, birds chirping, mating, nesting. I loved your blue sky today. It was pure and clear and while the air bore a chill, seeing your bright sun was an undeniable promise of warmth to come.

Sometimes you tease us with a warm day in and among chilly days. And we sometimes have gloomy days sandwiched between sunny ones as a reminder to us that noticing the nice days is important and far more productive over our complaints about the less than desirable weather.

I pray you will heighten my senses and open my heart this season. Teach me to notice your wonders of nature. Teach me to utter prayers of thanks for rising each day with eyes wide open to your artistic spring images. And when every day is done, allow me restful sleep and the desire to wake the next morning to appreciate you and your works all over again.

AMEN!

Perfect Prayer

29 Apr

In the Max Lucado book I have referenced, I saw this passage and prayer which together create such a perfect message after Easter. The prayer I share is in an abbreviated form.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

“Father God, you redeemed me from my sin. You have taken it far away from me. You are perfect love. Help me search my worth. Help me comprehend your sacrifice.

Be strength to those who don’t believe, for they bear an unnecessary burden alone.

Teach me appreciation for all you do; especially for the healing rescue you constantly give.”

AMEN

There is such beauty in forgiveness, redemption and God’s amazing love!

We all Pray…some.

27 Apr

I saw those words on the back cover of a pint sized book of devotions called POCKET PRAYERS authored by Max Lucado. Those words on the back of the book caught my eye, but the words on page one did, too: “Hello, my name is Max and I am a recovering prayer wimp.” Woah–that caught my attention and the page went on to say, “I doze off when I pray. My thoughts zig and zag and distractions swarm like gnats on a summer night.”

Sound familiar?

Back to the rear cover of the book where more about “typical prayer” was explained…it spoke of how many of us utter a little something related to a scary diagnosis, a financial setback or the loss of a loved one, then as more easy going life kicks in, we sometimes lay off our prayer life.

I can see this. I can picture how prayer seems more key when life is showing things that are more important, intimidating or inquisitive. To be sure, our thoughts go to prayer when life seems to be walking a harder path.

How might I pray more? How might I make prayer be more fervent and less rote? How might my life be enhanced by more prayer? Can I pray without dozing or distractions?

And how will God receive my new, more frequent and more diligent prayer?

Hmm…only one way to find out!

Fruit

25 Apr

Who loves fruit? My current favorite is strawberries but in all honesty my biggest favorite of all is watermelon. I even appreciate canned fruit, which I know some may reject for the nutrients lost in the canning process. I think canned peaches with cottage cheese on top are quite the treats.

The Bible teaches that we are to bear fruit and that there are actually 9 fruits we bear while living in accordance to God’s love, law and with the Holy Spirit sent to us to assist with living. LOVE, JOY, PEACE PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF CONTROL.

Yikes! As a believer, I am supposed to do all that? Such a tall order! No wonder some people feel overwhelmed trying to measure up in God’s eye.

GOOD NEWS! There is NO measuring up. God loves us simply for the person we are. God made us just the way we are for a purpose –for HIS purpose– and when we can accomplish any of those fruits listed above God will rejoice for us and with us.

Note: Two of the fruits are patience and kindness. Let’s bestow those fruits upon ourselves while we wait for the other fruits to “kick in.”

Books!

22 Apr

Do you like books? Some folks are such avid readers and they patronize book stores and libraries and give such care to their reading interests. I recently downloaded a library app that allows me to peruse the stacks of the local library system and download books to read on my tablet. Normally holding the tangible book is my gig, but I have discovered some great reads through the app.

Other quick reading I do regularly is found on my daily calendar. Today as I flipped my daily calendar over to the new page the message read this: “God fills your every chapter with the plans he has written just for you.” The words were embossed on an image of a stack of hard back books each depicted in a colorful image.

It was so cool to think about MY STORIES being captured through God’s eyes.

I love the thought of MY book being written by God, the ultimate author. Of course I want to call some of the shots, but my Heavenly Father knows what is good and right ant true for me and I will honor the chapters written Just.For.Me.

Old School Easter Wisdom

20 Apr

I teach at a small Christian college. Weekly there is message sent out by email that reminds the students and staff of our “common life together” and the different ways we can see our connection to one another and to the world through our Christ-centered view. Right after our Easter break this was posted and I share it with you. Updike, the author of the piece was known as an American novelist and poet and literary critic. He was a Pulitzer Prize winner for his fiction more than once. He once described his religious life as a “tour of Protestantism” having been raised as the son of a Lutheran Minister, but evolving over time by practicing his worship in other Protestant traditions. The piece written in mid-century America has word power!

“Seven Stanzas at Easter” by John Updike (1960)

Make no mistake: if he rose at all

It was as His body;

If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,

The amino acids rekindle,

The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,

Each soft spring recurrent;

It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the

Eleven apostles;

It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes

The same valved heart

That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered

Out of enduring Might

New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,

Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,

Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded

Credulity of earlier ages:

Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,

Not a stone in a story,

But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of

Time will eclipse for each of us

The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,

Make it a real angel,

Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in

The dawn light, robed in real linen

Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,

For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,

Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed

By the miracle,

And crushed by remonstrance.

TO THIS MESSAGE I SAY, “AMEN.”

Resurrection

18 Apr

Did you ever look up the definition of this amazing word? I found a website called yourdictionary.com that listed 6 definitions:

–The return of Jesus to life on the third day after the Crucifixion.

–The act of bringing back to practice, notice, use, or vibrancy; revival.

–The return of an old custom; the restoration of a decrepit neighborhood.

–The act of restoring a dead person, for example, to life.

–The condition of having been restored to life.

–The restoration of the dead to life at the Last Judgment.

Do you have a favorite from this list?

As I write this post, I have in mind Easter Sunday, sometimes called Resurrection Sunday- the day we honor Christ’s emergence back to life. The day we look at the cross and see the notable bareness of it. The day we look deeply into the cave tomb and see its vacancy. The day we look into the world and see God’s presence everywhere–in nature’s rebirth, in the eyes of a loved one, in the glance from a stranger, in a familiar laugh, in the touch of a good friend.

I thank God for the gift of his son. I am grateful for his powerful work in this world so that even a failed and flawed me can find redemption and resurrection.

Amazing Love

15 Apr
  1. When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.
  2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.
  3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
  4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

ARE THOSE WORDS FAMILIAR AND BEAUTIFUL TO YOU? They are to me.

Isaac Watts penned the text in 1707. The words are still powerful today for the Christian who believes. The tune of the hymn was crafted by Lowell Mason over a century later!

The original title Watts gave to this hymn was CRUCIFIXION TO THE WORLD BY THE CROSS OF CHRIST. One of the identifying poetic themes present in the lyrics is juxtaposition: when two opposing ideas are present and placed near to each other in a phrase or sentence. (For example: richest gain/ loss; sorrow/ love flow.)

Watts does this masterfully.

Each phrase gives imagery of death on a cross with a legacy to follow. So beautiful to me! A perfect tribute on this Good Friday when I recall my Lord’s pain and love joining forces to save the world.

Isaac Watts used his gift of lyrics and word-crafting quite well in the glory of his Lord!

So fitting on this redeeming and thought provoking day.

AMEN.

God’s Mysteries

13 Apr

I had a dear mother who for years was known to say, “God works in mysterious ways.” As a young girl I did not understand her wisdom and if I asked for clarification her response was often a brief explanation that did not satisfy my youthful inquiries. I took my mom’s words at the face value in which they were delivered, but still pondered their message.

Here I am now a mother and grandmother and my deeper instincts still have me questioning my mother’s idea of God’s mysteries. But I believe I am coming closer to recognizing what it all means.

God’s ways are not our ways. God’s plans are not our plans and God’s wisdom is far deeper than any wise thoughts we might have. The things God may do are not for our understanding, but rather for our acceptance. What God has planned for our lives may indeed not be matched up to our plans, but we are asked as Christ followers to be open to ideas beyond the simple ones we may dream up. It is God’s hope that we simply TRUST what is in store for us.

God’s timing is also not connected to our timing. When I want something I often want it NOW! God’s answer to my plea might be, “Wait.” I may reply, “What?” And in return God repeats, “Wait.”

Mysterious ways are just that…a mystery…to be solved, understood and managed in due time; in God’s time.

Identity

11 Apr

My identity is mine

Shaped by a loving God

Who wanted my life to run a certain way and

Blaze a certain path.

I am who I am by God’s gracious design.

When I doubt myself,

I doubt God.

When I dislike myself,

I dislike God.

And when I honor myself,

I honor God and all He believes about me.

For this I am daily grateful.

More Spring Sightings

8 Apr

Are you familiar with the Common Grackle? I wasn’t until I saw several of them dutifully working in my back yard. A Grackle is a streamlined shaped blackbird with a head of shiny dark blue feathers. I see they are busy birds, chasing other birds away as they peruse my yard for suitable nesting materials. I watched one this morning chase off two Robins while filling a beak with dried grasses and stringy brown plant matter from one of the landscape beds I could see from my desk window. I looked up information on the Grackle and it is considered a bossy bird and sometimes aggressive. The name of the bird suggests to some historians dating back to the 1700s — courage or courageous. (Hence the aggression?) I watched today as Mr. or Mrs. Grackle flew in and out of a tall shrub we have near the house with a beak full of nesting materials.

God’s creatures are wonderful, mysterious, precious and fun! How much we can learn of God’s good graces by watching nature. My bird watching taught me many scriptural messages this morning.

Job 12:7-10 

But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.

Matthew 6:28-30 

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you?

Psalm 104:24

O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

How brave is the Common Grackle to provide stable shelter for its future young!

What lessons have you learned from nature in recent days?

Biblical Wisdom

6 Apr

Sometimes it is helpful to dip into Scripture for wisdom. There are truths there found nowhere else. Here are some nuggets for your day.

 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:6

 Everything is possible for one who believes. Mark 9:23

God’s words are true. God’s words show love. God’s words bring peace.

Dearest God–I am thankful for your wisdom. I admit to not following it at times and worse than that I admit to not seeking it at times. Today I am thankful I did the seeking, and I shall make plans to follow. AMEN.

Gifts

4 Apr

Are you familiar with the musical GODSPELL?

This musical from the early 1970s tells the story of Jesus collecting his disciples, teaching them to form a covenant group instead of being the motley crew they were when first recruited by Jesus. One of the pieces of music in the show is ALL GOOD GIFTS. The lyrics are captured below in part.

We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land..

But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand.

He sends us snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain…

The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain...

CHORUS: All good gifts around us

Are sent from Heaven above

Then thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all his love…

We thank thee then, O Father, for all things bright and good,

The seed time and the harvest, our life our health our food,

No gifts have we to offer for all thy love imparts

But that which thou desirest, our humble thankful hearts!

Believe it or not, original lyrics of this piece were first penned by poet Matthias Claudius who wrote the words in the 1770s — his later years as he had become ill. In his twenties, he had abandoned Christianity, but had returned in later years and his beliefs were a sustaining force in his life and an inspiration for much poetry he was writing during his illness. ALL GOOD GIFTS as listed above was a favorite among his closest friends with whom he shared his words.

The tender message is a reminder that what we have in life is not really ours. God gives the gifts and desires that we become good protectors and stewards of everything we have.

It’s easy to pat ourselves on the back for all we have. Sadly doing that alone is missing the mark. We can be proud of our hard work and achievements, but it is best when we realize our lives are deeply enriched by ALL of God’s GOOD GIFTS.

What is a Blessing?

1 Apr

I feel blessed. What a blessing you are in my life. It was such a blessing! These are phrases I have often used. It is when a positive force is present in my life, and I feel so good about a situation that I may utter these words.

An online dictionary describes a blessing as, “A special favor, a mercy, a benefit or an invoking of God’s favor.”

Wow! That is a lot to take in. Can such a simple word mean all those things?

I once read that the word bless and/or any variation of the word is present in the Bible 400 times. This suggests to me that we are supposed to “get the message.”

Blessings come to us not through our own simple life, but rather through God’s presence in our own simple life.

Pity those who ignore God and the messages he bears.

Aren’t they therefore rather blind to God’s blessings?

Such a sad state of affairs!

As for me–I shall count my blessings as gifts from the Almighty chosen just for me.

How awesome!

God’s Warmth

30 Mar

Today was a very cold March day. As I left for work the weather guy on the radio said the temperature was 16 degrees and the chill in the air registered a whopping 4 degrees. It is the last week in March and by this time of the year, weather like that feels exhausting. Fortunately I hustled into a warm building for much of the day. I had refused to wear my heavier coat and wore a mid weight jacket with scarf and gloves for added warmth. Upon coming home after work I flipped on the warm water to wash my hands as I usually do after a busy day. The water was remarkably cold; icy cold! This registered to me that something was wrong and I went to check on the water heater in the basement and it was spewing cold water all around. In addition to the bitter weather, this situation, too, brought me chills. Harumph!

But God’s warming presence was with me all day. (I just had to look for it!)

A friend and I made plans for an upcoming lunch after chatting about the brisk weather in the morning. My students put together presentations for an assignment they had been given and they were nicely done– well suited to the assignment and completely shared with some public speaking confidence that was not present even 2 months ago. They have grown as students to trust their abilities and do the work accordingly. Both the conversation with a new friend and the dedication from students warmed my spirit on this annoying day.

I am thankful God placed people and experiences in my day for warmth and brightness. I am thankful I had the presence of mind to notice those warm gifts because on some days I am blind to some of God’s riches that lay all around.

And now…. waiting 24 hours for a repair person to show up for the water heater does not seem SO COLD!

I am grateful my Lord helped me with my perspective today.