Availability

28 Mar

What does it mean to be available? You have nothing else on your calendar, perhaps? You made room on your calendar or maybe you were just free with time to do whatever it is that was begging for your time?

During the height of the pandemic, we all felt available because there was not much to do. And there were many things not available to us.

Now that life is opening up in different ways, our calendars are fuller, and we are not always available on a moment’s notice.

But– God. Is. Always. Available.

I have a personal calendar with daily inspirational messages and today the statement is this:

EVERYWHERE YOU GO THE LOVE AND PRESENCE OF GOD WILL GO WITH YOU.

How comforting to know that God is always available! God’s calendar does not fill up, or if it does, there is still always room for me. Scripture tells us this.

Exodus 33:14 

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Jeremiah 29:13 

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Psalm 145:18 

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Amen to God who clears his calendar just for me, you and all.

Knowing this brings me peace.

Hands

25 Mar

Have you looked at your hands lately? This time of year mine are especially dry due to the cold weather and wintry conditions. I am not one to wear nail polish very often and I am not one to wear gloves very often, but perhaps I could do both to protect my hands a bit and make them more presentable because in all actuality MY HANDS ARE GOD’S HANDS.

My hands send signals and cues to people. They move and gesture when I talk and the fingers bear symbolic and sentimental rings I wear that speak stories to those who may ask. Hands help us hold things, lift things, prepare things, share things.

1 Corinthians tells us that we are indeed the body of Christ and does not a body have hands?

Romans tells us how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news.

Now I realize those passages mention the body and feet, but I see both intertwined with hands in order to do God’s work here on earth.

Hands to hold the hands of those in despair.

Hands to prepare a meal for the hungry.

Hands to write words of love and support in a note to a needy friend.

Hands to pray to God the Almighty who has our best interests in HIS HANDS.

I want to be God’s hands on earth. With or without a manicure, with or without smoothing lotion, with or without warm gloves or the rings I usually wear. I want my hand gestures to be loving, caring and meaningful to someone each day.

Thank you, God for the hands you have given me. Please help me use them for your purposes in this world around me.

AMEN!

Lord have Mercy

23 Mar

L iving and loving

O verseeing God

R escues my

D ay and

H as

A n amazing

V iew of my

E ver present concerns while bringing

M eaning to me,

E specially in

R eal moments when I

C an barely fathom his grace.

Y ES!!

Spring Sightings

21 Mar

Isn’t a change of seasons remarkable? Oh, I know it depends where you live as to what you may be experiencing, but where I am, I am feeling spring. Don’t jump to any conclusions…as I write this it is only 34 degrees. But the sky is blue and when I awoke this morning, I heard birds chirping. THAT suggests spring to me!

Sometimes I think spring has the hardest time emerging of all the other seasons. This may be because we have high expectations of spring. We become impatient.

We want birds to sing

We want skies to be blue.

We want warmer temperatures.

We want the grass to turn green and for early flower bulbs to burst open.

And we want it NOW!

So amazing that we are often an impatient people under the care of a patient God. Do we disappoint when we rush? Do we disappoint ourselves? Do we disappoint our Lord?

Truth be known, God is far more forgiving and gracious about impatient situations than we will ever be.

“Every day God patiently bears with us, and every day we are tempted to become impatient with our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. And our faults and failures before God are so much more serious than the petty actions of others that tend to irritate us! God calls us to graciously bear with the weaknesses of others, tolerating them and forgiving them even as He has forgiven us.”

–author Jerry Bridges, Christian writer, speaker.

Of course, the Bridges quote above speaks about our general impatient behaviors as humans one to the other, but it translates well to the impatience we may feel as we desperately wait for spring.

So what shall I do on the next day when I want 68 and sunny and I get 31 and snowy? I will be reminded of my dearest God who graciously waits and shows patience for all that I am. Then I will dig deeply into my thinking and search for a similar sort of patience.

Tusi Tribute

18 Mar

She was larger than life.

She was my Aunt Millie, but I called her Tusi, pronounced like Sushi. That is a Romanian word for “aunt.”

Larger than life…not because of her stature, but rather because of her style.

She loved clothes and being decked out for different occasions. She shopped like a rock star, being able to run store to store for hours finding the best stuff at the best prices. Back in the day she donned fashion hats and white gloves for special occasions. Her closet was a collection of “identity pieces, ” each one oozing her personality and adding to the total collection.

She loved to talk. She enjoyed the companionship of friends and family. Rarely was she short on opinions and she had a sly edgy delivery when something to her was important to say.

She decorated her home with flair. She loved color and brocade and lace and china, indicative of her era. She had furniture so carefully chosen that her living room looked the same for decades– decorated her way with good furnishings.

She cooked and baked with abandon, always believing that extra efforts in the kitchen were an expression of love. One of her recipes was a mocha torte that she warned me took 6-8 hours to make. I tried it once to honor her, secretly believing it would not take ME that long. I was wrong, Tusi was right!

Tusi’s faith was grand! It was one of the biggest things about her. She prayed, she went to church, she volunteered at the church, she helped at countless church dinners. She then prayed all over again.

Her birthday is coming. She passed in 2021. Her birthday was always a harbinger of spring. Sometimes I remembered her birthday and sometimes I forgot. She still loved me.

We did not talk on the phone very often and living two states away made visiting a challenge at times, but I always hoped my physical absence was not indicative of absence of thought. Not a chance!

I miss Tusi, but cherish the memories of growing up in the shadow of her big life, learning, listening and loving along the way.

I hope God gave you someone BIG in your life to remember today.

Knowledge

16 Mar

I pray that you will know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. Ephesians 3:18

What is knowledge? Of course, it is based on the word “know, ” which suggests being aware through inquiry or observation or function. An example may be that we know how to do something, or we know a fact or a piece of data or information. The word know can also suggest having a relationship with someone such as we know our friends, we know some acquaintances, or we know a business.

Some say, “Knowledge is power.” Sir Francis Bacon from the 1500s is often credited for that statement. How’s that for legacy and longevity?

But in today’s writing from Paul to the church in Ephesus, there is a hidden tug on our hearts through Paul’s prayer that the love of Christ is so powerful, we can hardly “know” it. Other scriptures tell us of Christ’s love:

1 John 4:19 

We love because he first loved us.

Romans 8:35 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Romans 8:37 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

There is beauty, power and Grace in Christ’s love. And… who does not need that richness in life?

Who would benefit from such knowledge?

Can you share with someone today?

.

Leaning into Lent

14 Mar

The Lenten season has begun and everyone has different approaches to the sacrifices we Christians make to honor the sacrifice that Jesus made for our love and salvation.

Some churches have strict rules to follow so that “giving up” certain foods will make room for the body, mind and spirit to be a welcoming vessel for God’s influence and love. If we abstain from some dietary indulges it is a constant reminder to get closer to the Lord when a craving for such foods comes into play.

Some churches offer suggestions for other sacrifices–giving up a favorite pastime or hobby in order to replace that time and energy with prayer and meditation and more time for a God connection. And some folks are inspired to give up cavalier or thoughtless behavior as a reminder that God would have us be more thoughtful and intentional in our living. Those people might try to stay away from gossip, judgmental thoughts or negative attitudes.

Some churches recommend none of the above, but give ideas for inspirational reading, scripture study and deeper prayer for the 40 days. There are no set rules and no set reasons to “do Lent” a certain way, but doing something to set aside the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter as sacred, special or even contemplative might prompt your Lenten journey to be more thoughtful and meaningful as you await the blessed Resurrection Sunday.

Stated firmly by author Patrick Mabilog, “Easter is a celebration with a powerful message that all people need to hear. I doubt that there is even a message more powerful than the Easter message, and it has nothing to do with brunch and egg hunts.”

The message of Easter is that of hope and life. It is the message that our God came down as man to die for our sins. Although he died a death of earthly nature, death could not hold Him, so on the third day He rose again, establishing His authority over all the earth. That man was Jesus.

As you mark your Lenten time leading up to the resurrection, I hope you feel challenged as well as blessed.

Dollar Tree Treasure

11 Mar

I popped into Dollar Tree today. I wanted to grab just a few items and I was in one of the stores that had been rearranged so as I was looking for things, I ended up walking in aisles I normally slip past. I came across a cute paperback book written by someone named Amie and it is an updated version of an older book I have called Children’s Letters to God. I am flat out stealing from one of the pages that stated in bold letters, “DEAR GOD, I NEED SOME ANSWERS FOR LIFE.”

The page went on to read something like this:

Everyday God answers question such as, “How will I get through this?” The page went on with affirming advice that it is okay to question God, ask God the hard questions and wait for the answers. The page stated that sometimes the answers come in a whisper and other times in a loud booming voice. Then Amie writes, “Don’t worry–He always sends the answers wrapped in love.”

He will certainly be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.” Isaiah 30:19

I found that to be a precious reminder that I do not have to try to handle everything each day. God is at the ready, prepared with love to bear my burdens, answer my questions and assist me in my living.

THANKS BE TO GOD for this holy presence in my life.

Mailing it In

9 Mar

That phrase is often used to describe a task done with minimal effort because the person doing the task feels lazy or distracted or ineffective.

I currently am distracted.

No need to elaborate.

Just know that this post is not an original. It comes straight out of the wisdom of Erma Bombeck whom I think I have referenced before.

She states: “GIVEN ANOTHER SHOT AT LIFE I WOULD SEIZE EVERY MINUTE OF IT, LOOK AT IT AND REALLY SEE IT, TRY IT ON, LIVE IT, EXHAUST IT AND NEVER GIVE THAT MINUTE BACK UNTIL THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT OF IT. “

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

May it be so for you this day.

AMEN!

A Precious Gem

7 Mar

She is more precious than rubies…” Proverbs 3:15

That word precious is a wonderful word! When do you use this word– to describe a tender moment, a new baby, a loving gesture from someone?

The definition from an online dictionary states “of an object, substance, or resource it is great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.”

Wow! That suggests elevation and meaning. Someone or something that is precious deserves special consideration and a reserved place in our memory and in our hearts.

Did you know that YOU are precious? To God you are indeed precious. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) I hope you believe you are precious and something not to be wasted or treated carelessly.

You are a jewel–unique and hand crafted. Your fingerprints are yours and yours alone. Your DNA is yours and your personal qualities and gifts were carefully designed just for you to use in this world.

God knew what the world needed when you were created. Even your flaws and failings fit you to a T.

Try to remember that YOU are more precious than rubies even if on some days only God can see this shining truth.

Be reminded of your God -given gifts and be blessed!

(Where are you in the image below?) 🙂

Farewell

4 Mar

I recently said goodbye to two very special men whom I called “Dad”–my father -in- law and my father.

Having this back-to-back experience has been rather like a treadmill because once I was on it, I could not step off.

Hard to describe what these two men meant to me. Their love, their guidance, their wisdom, their presence in my life for decades now presents a dilemma…all that they gave to me has to be stored in my memory bank and in my heart. Finding room for all that love and wisdom will be on my TO DO list today and in days to come.

Saying goodbye can be so daunting. How long should the goodbye be? What should be said? This is true even when you say goodbye to someone you fully expect to see in the future. It may be more poignant when you may not see that special someone for a span of time, but it is really unique when it is someone you say goodbye to knowing you will not have their presence on earth, in day-to-day life, at holiday time, on the phone and so on and so on.

They were two remarkable men, each in his own right. Their lifestyles may not have dovetailed but their life goals and values did. They were each so different due to life circumstances and experiences, yet in the big picture they were still both loving fathers to me. They were friends to each other. They were special to many.

In God’s presence now, they are in glory.

Here on earth, I am rearranging my life to fill in the void.

Some tasks do not come easily, and I will be accepting of that with God, my Heavenly Father guiding me.

Vision Check

2 Mar

I recently received a reminder for a eye appointment coming soon. On that date the doctor will check my eyes for health and acuity inside and out. With all his equipment and knowledge he will determine how well I see.

This made me think how difficult it can be sometimes to see well in life. Plenty of things happen from day to day that cloud our vision. A job change, a move, an accident, a diagnosis, an illness, physical pain, disappointment and loss can gang up and blur our sight. We “can’t see the forest for the trees,” we feel “blindsided,” we “didn’t see it coming.” This all happens due to our human nature. Our perspective changes when big things happen and our sight and vision sometimes grow dim.

The good news is that God sees everything. God is present in everything! But that too, is sometimes blurred by our humanness. Our vision of God’s goodness gets crowded out by our own limited sight.

God sees the bigger picture and God knows our inner selves and precisely what we need far better than our capability to see it ourselves.

While I think my vision is quite good, thank you very much…

God’s vision is perfect.

I refer you to the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:11. Check it out!

“See” what is there for you.

Flowers = Life

28 Feb

I received flowers as a gift today. They arrived at an unexpected time and from an unexpected source. They are lovely! I love gifts of flowers. I know the opinions of some say that fresh flowers can be an overrated gift because eventually they die. To that argument I say, “So…”

So what if they die? Their life, no matter how short, is a gift.

I have memories of flowers. My mother always cherished flowers, in the garden and on the rare occasion as a gift. I remember being maybe 10-11 years old and allowed to walk to the corner store with a friend. Next to the little store was a greenhouse and flower shop. One afternoon leading up to Mother’s Day I scrounged up $3.00 and purchased for my mother a basket of Pansies just ready for planting. There were maybe 10 plants in the cute oblong basket. Such a deal! I was so proud to be able to purchase the gift and hide it by the side of the garage and then giving the basket to her was the best thing ever!

Of course at the close of summer the flowers died, but what joy they brought for weeks and weeks!

Isn’t that a little like our lives? On this earth we cannot live forever. Just as a flower might have a time line for life, so do we. Our days are numbered by God rather like Mother Nature numbering the amount of time a plant may have. The best part of the gift of flowers is the joy they bring. The best part of our lives is the joy we will glean from year to year and unlike the Pansy or other flowers, when our life ends, a new one begins.

Thanks be to God.

God’s Presence

25 Feb

G od is

O verseeing the

D ays and nights

I n my

S imple life

P roviding

R est in

E very

S ingle needy moment

E specially during

N egative

T imes

AMEN!

Who Knows?

23 Feb

Who knows? That is an inquiring statement often used in conversation when an answer is sought and yet seems unclear. I think I say “Who knows” a lot. It feels right when I do not have an answer, but want to express an idea or an indication that I have been thinking about whatever it is that prompted the statement.

It is rather an encompassing statement that expresses an opinion, a feeling and a vague meaning all in one.

But it is the WRONG answer, no matter the question.

Guess who ALWAYS knows?

Of course, God knows!

God knows our past, our present our future, our unspoken prayers, our worries and our concerns. And God is available for the sharing if we only ask. God’s heart is big enough to soothe our aching hearts. God’s arms are wide enough to embrace any weakness we have and it can be turned into something much stronger than if we tried to go it alone. God’s mind is grander than our minds and God can bring wisdom to a situation from seemingly nowhere. Well, it IS from somewhere…it is from God.

I am thankful everyday for such a perfect helpmate.

The Feet and Hands of Jesus

21 Feb

Today I had two people show me such kindness. They visited. It does not matter how long they stayed. It does not matter the gifts they brought. What mattered was their willingness on a cold snowy day to darken my door and warm my heart. They were the feet and hands of Jesus.

I have heard this phenomenon described as “Horizontal Jesus.” Pastor and author Tony Evans coined this term to describe those folks who are willing to reach out to people around them to show the love of Jesus through a helping hand, a gesture, a kind word, a blessing bestowed.

Have you ever been Horizontal Jesus? Have you used your feet and hands to BE the feet and hands of Jesus to someone else? Expressing a kind word? Helping with an extra task? Listening patiently? Serving a meal?

God calls us to “be there” for others; to be a light in the darkness, to be the salt that brings flavor to the lives of others. TO. BE. THERE.

Today and in days to come…

I want to be Horizontal Jesus.

Do you?

Service

18 Feb

S etting aside

E xtra special

R ewards to share with others

V ia love, care and

I nterest because we are

C alled to do so

E very day.

AMEN!

Winter Inspiration

16 Feb

Snow white, purely driven

Blankets the earth with soft grace.

Cold degrees and blue skies

Paint a palette, set the pace.

God’s handiwork, winter morn

Teaching me patience, waiting

For spring. Reborn.

God’s seasonal plans

Are perfect for me.

Each day brings newness

Something fresh to see

If only I take the time…

Grant me such a time, O God.

AMEN.

Set Apart

14 Feb

Do you have things that you “set apart?” Do you save certain things for a special occasion or for a dedicated purpose? I recall as a little girl having “Sunday shoes” dedicated to wear to church. We had “gym clothes” which we kept at school in a locker ready for physical education class. My father had “work clothes” that he only wore to work because they got filthy in the machine shop where he was employed. I even had a “Sunday coat” for wintertime. All those things bore a function for certain days and times, not for every day. You might say they were special since we had set them apart for a certain time. I suppose if I think further on this, I have a few things that I set apart for certain reasons or occasions even today.

Did you know God has set us apart for a divine purpose? God’s plans are for us to be forgiven and cleansed and energized in preparation for doing his purpose in the world. Some of the spiritual writers call this sanctification: “set apart or declared holy.”

Mind you, this is not because of anything we have done; we are not set apart because we are so awesome, good, faithful and true 100% of the time, but rather we are set apart by God’s good grace poured over us as a precious gift. And my gift back to God is to honor his ways, believe in his word and be available to others in that same grace-giving sense.

What I recall about my “Sunday shoes” is that they never wore out. I likely outgrew them instead,

As for my life being set apart as God’s follower, I may never wear out either because the Lord will bring newness to my days just for the asking and that is something I will never outgrow.

” Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”– 2 Timothy 2:21

Think Again

11 Feb

Recently our Pastor wanted us to see that when we read scripture, we often take for granted the words that are familiar and when we do this we lose meaning in those words. Her case in point was based on the familiar words from 1 Corinthians–you know, the love message?

She read the words several times to us with different vocal inflection and word emphasis so we could envision the familiar words with new meaning. To use a similar concept, I am going to try some interpretive word variation for The Lord’s Prayer. How special it might be to say those oh so familiar words with new thoughts. To do this I am going to change out words hoping to preserve the power of the prayer and believing that a new view of the old words might make a difference. It is my belief that most of my readers know the original words.

Here goes:

Our precious parent and holy partner who lives among us,

How I honor your name!

I bless your will and believe it has strength and power in the past, present and future throughout the heavens and here on earth.

I am grateful for food on my table as I am grateful when you forgive my sinful nature.

I will pay respect to you by doing my part to forgive others in this same fashion.

I believe your very presence in my life can keep me from evil.

Yours, O God, is the most loving and strengthening wisdom in my life and I praise your name today and always. Amen!

So…the next time you pray the Lord’s Prayer, don’t recall my interpretation, but rather, be inspired by the original words that do not deserve rote delivery but rather thoughtful diction instead.

Our Father Prayer Print The Lord's Prayer 5x7 8x10 image 1

Battle Ground

9 Feb

B elieving

A t

T he right

T ime

L ove will

E volve and

G od will provide

R est

O ver the trials

U nderway, knowing my

N eeds, fears and

D esires before I even know them myself.

Recipes

7 Feb

I love recipes! I love to read them and sometimes I collect them, but I do not always implement them–especially if they seem complex with exotic ingredients and layered instructions. But, I do like to bake and cook, and the key ingredient for me is this: EASY! Yes, I like recipes with the word EASY as a description or an ingredient. That might make me seem like a cheater cook–one who cuts corners and wants to be done in a jiffy. But I still have fun reading the recipes, imagining the meals and even if I cut corners in some of my cooking projects, we end up with a meal to share and it is one that nourishes.

I found this recipe recently. It speaks of happiness and a manner of living that brings love and joy to day to day existence. The words are wise. For THIS recipe, I should not rush the ingredients, I will follow the directions carefully and even though I did not see the word EASY anywhere, I believe with some dedication, this recipe is doable and will bring beautiful results to savor.

Recipe For Life Quotes - PECIRES

Spirit of the Living God

4 Feb

Oh, gracious God–you are the one who knows all things and you know me best. You observe my comings and goings, you recognize my thoughts, my fears, my insecurities and my inner longings. You can read me better than I can read myself. Yet, I often want to do it all my way. I want to forget how deeply you care for me and I want to be autonomous and rather into myself instead of leaning into your Holy Spirit for companionship, strength and guidance.

“The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. He is God living in us!”

John 14:16-18 says, “I (Jesus) will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth…You know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

I found the above quotes from a NewSpring Church website featuring some writings by author Chase Culbertson.

The words made me think how shutting my mind away from the Holy Spirit is rather like closing my heart to God’s love. How awful to not be welcoming to the love of God in my life! How weak I am when I do not recognize the power of the Holy Spirit within me. How feeble my independent thinking is compared to the power of God.

“God speaks through a variety of means. In the present God primarily speaks by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church.” – Henry Blackaby

Do You Have a Well?

2 Feb

A well? I grew up with a well in the ground in our family’s back yard. It was not the quintessential well that has a bucket you lower deeply down into the stone chamber for water, but it was our hidden water source. In either case, no one wants the well to run dry.

Figuratively, a well could be a place of knowledge, wisdom, energy and truth. If that is so, where is YOUR well? Is your well found among friends? In church? In nature? Online? In quiet silence? In prayer? Where does your inspiration reside and when do you draw from it? Once in a while? Constantly? When needed?

Having a well to go to can be life saving and transformational. Those who know not what to do nor where to turn in times of error and woe will suffer this special space missing in their life.

I am grateful to have God almighty and his word in my life.

I praise God for being my well.

“DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK, BUT RATHER THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVE.”

(an anonymous quote)

Outdoor Stone and Wood Water-Well on white background, isolated Water-well with roof and wooden bucket with rope.  stock photography

New Calendar

31 Jan

I STILL love paper calendars! I like them with pretty designs on them; I like inspirational quotes on them and I like the action of writing on the calendar instead of typing something of importance into my phone.

My old school calendar preferences make me happy. I have a month to month agenda style calendar for writing down activities and a day by day inspirational calendar.

Recently I retired a day by day calendar I had received as a gift maybe 5-7 years ago. It is one of those “quote a day” calendars where you flip the page each day to reveal a new thought. I just kept restarting it over and over through the years. That calendar has been well loved; well used. But I was out and about yesterday and saw a newer version of that calendar and this one is all attractive with pretty colors, pictures and images and something inspirational stated per day. I love it…but the other one is simply tucked in a drawer in case I need it to come out of retirement someday.

Today the inspiration on the new calendar is just 2 words: LOVE WELL.

God has advice for that…


1 Corinthians 13— “Love is patient, love is kind.”

1 John 4:16– “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

Ephesians 4:1-2– “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”

1 John 4:12— “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LOVE THOUGHT, QUOTE OR PASSAGE?

Bible Verses Printable, Romans 12:10, Be devoted to one another in love... Scripture Art, Wedding Decor, Wedding bible verses