Good morning! Just a quick little note to let all of you know I've gone camping! I'm unplugged and downloaded for a few days but I'll be back next week with more joyful words!
Blessings on your day!
Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Matthew 6:26
The porch is open…summer may now begin! The flowers, the chairs, the cozy rug; it’s all part of the little piece of heaven on the north facing side of the house. My morning prayer chair will sit empty for the better part of the next 3 months and the kitchen island discussions will change because both of those important activities have been re-routed to the porch. I love the view, the breeze, the peace and the beauty. I love all of it ,but two of my favorite parts of the porch are the wind chimes that were a gift from great friends when Dave’s dad died and the hummingbird feeder that both hang from a Shepherds hook in the flower bed at the end of the porch.
One night last week Dave and I watched some cranes in the corn field across the road. They were huge! I watched in wonder as their giant necks bobbed across the rows and called back and forth to each other. As big as they were I would have expected them to be clumsy but they were quite graceful. Even though the group was separated by a couple of acres every so often they’d call to each other as if to make sure their friends were still nearby. It was quite a lovely show.
The other morning there was quite a wind and I laughed out loud as I watched a determined little bird try to get to a different tree. It was flying against the wind and the little thing was flapping his wings madly trying to go and it was if he was just stuck in the same place, mid-air, flapping and going nowhere. After a few seconds of flapping, he let up just a bit and the wind sent him tumbling beak over tail feather straight back to the tree he was trying to leave. I felt kind of sorry for the little guy but it was pretty hilarious!
Today we sat and watched in awe as the hummingbirds danced and flitted between the feeder at the end of the porch and the maple tree just a few feet away. Hummingbirds are fascinating to me. Some sound so loud and others are quiet as a whisper. We watched as one flew to a bare branch in the tree and as it landed it was so soft and tiny the branch showed absolutely no movement when he landed.
I’m not really a bird watcher but seeing these three groups of feathered friends showed me a lesson or two. My porch is a great place to learn so here’s what hit me as I rocked in my glider.
*Each was a bird, they could fly, they had a beak and feathers but yet I marveled at how different they looked. The size, the color, the shape, the sound….all so very different and with birds you’d never expect it to be any other way so why do we expect it to be that way with people? Why do we try so hard to be like others and fit in when we, like the birds I watched from my porch were specifically created to be different? God didn’t make a mistake when he used such originality and creativity with those bird. I need to remember the same is true for humans. The Hummingbird isn’t better because it’s tiny and the Crane isn’t better because it’s big and graceful. Each is perfect in it’s design!
*That bird wildly flapping against the wind must look just like me when I try to do things my own way and forget to follow the will of the Father. I wonder if he giggles at me too when I wind up right back where I started!
*I laugh when I think what it would look like if the Crane would try to daintily sip from the Hummingbird feeder or if the Hummingbird would try to cry out loudly to the friends in the beans an acre over. I think of the times I try to put myself in places and situations where God hasn’t invited me and it doesn’t look anything like that Hummingbird silently and stealthily landing on the tree branch.
Thank you God for using your beautiful creation to teach me a thing or two this first week on the porch. I’m looking forward to more lessons! Oh, and thank you for the beautiful world that surrounds my porch! The only thing that would make my porch better is company so if you’re on Pratt Road plan to stop for a visit!
A Seed To Plant: What are you gazing at this summer and what is the Father trying to teach you?
Blessings on your day!
In my distress I called to the Lord…Psalm 18:6
If our high school would have had a debate team, I would have been absolutely the last person picked to be on it! I’m amazed at the way some people can eloquently deliberate a topic with conviction and finesse. Still others can bark an opinion and slam you with a defense that leaves your head spinning. I simply smell controversy or conflict and nearly trip over my own feet trying to get away from the conversation! We all have our own opinions and we all have the ability to make choices but that doesn’t mean we are obligated to yell them out. As Christians, it’s up to us to make sure our opinions and choices are based on truth and rooted in Scripture and Church teaching. Seems simple enough right?
As a society we don’t like to be told what to do. We aren’t so good with rules and regulations and I wonder if that is because there are so many voices yackin we can’t even hear the truth anymore. I’m not sure what happened to right and wrong; good and bad but we seem to live in a world full of clauses and sub-groups and exceptions. Some days I think gray is the most popular color in America. A very wise man I know always used to say, “Just do the right thing and keep your mouth shut.” Imagine what would happen if everyone was told to follow that advice for a day! What would happen if everyone was told they couldn’t say one thing for a day unless it was based in truth and steeped in Scripture?
A person could get pretty upset and discouraged with the state of affairs we seem to be in right now; but then that’s exactly what Satan wants. He would be delighted to think he’s reduced us all to a society of bickering, selfish, self-centered, slandering, lying, cheating, stealing idiots. He would be delighted to think we’ve forgotten our mission to seek the truth, live the truth and love the God who created us. Well news flash…WE HAVEN’T! I have come to realize a couple important truths of my own in the last couple days that seemed to yank me right out of my disappointment with our current state of affairs. The first; when we get to heaven we won’t present a summary of our best earthly actions nor will we be judged in groups. We are flying SOLO so it is our sole responsibility to make sure the choices we make and the opinions we base our actions on are in line with the will of the Father. One thing that is not gray…following the will of the Father is often very hard! He cares about our character not our comfort. The second; God is bigger than anything going on here on earth! He’s mightier than any ruling, leader, mandate or current event. He’s the one we should be aligning ourselves with, seeking protection from, gaining wisdom from and hanging on every word from. In order to do that well; to really follow His lead; we need to spend time in conversation with him. What would happen if the next time we see a post, or hear a news report that bubbles up our blood we stopped before reacting and spent a moment or two in prayer. Before we spout off our opinion what if we asked the Holy Spirit to inspire our words to be truthful and steeped in Scripture? God is bigger, richer, stronger and mightier than any of us combined but in order to see all of that clearly revealed to this hurting world, we have to live like we love him and become a world that prays first before anything else!
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of three “things”, “people”, or “groups” that seem to bother you most. Your task for the next week is to pray consistently for those three things. In your prayer, ask God to guide your actions and reactions to those three things.
Blessings on your day!
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
Have you ever noticed how many times things don’t go exactly as you think they will? Today is one of those days. In my plan, I was going to get up at 5 and get on a plane at 7 and be home from Houston by 3. Then the texts started coming…delay after re-book after new city. Instead of a quick trip home, I’m sitting in Philadelphia (because Houston to Philly to Grand Rapids makes perfect sense…right!) and should be in my driveway by 10 tonight. Not the plan I had cooked up, but I decided early this morning it was going to be an “eyes wide open” kind of day. I’m glad I made that choice because I saw a lot of cool stuff.
By 6:30 this morning I was already in a customer service line arranging my first re-book and I just watched the people in front of me in line. I watched a young man who had a walker to balance his unsteady body as he tried to walk on his new prosthetic leg. He was managing a huge suitcase and a walker and a wobbly body, just wanting to get home after a long medical stay in Houston. He was quiet and patient as they got him re-situated and I was impressed with his strength and his smile in spite of his physical challenges. He showed me perseverance and gratefulness.
The lady in line next to me at the counter was throwing a huge hissy fit because she was going to have to sit in Miami an extra two hours before she could get to her ten day vacation in Aruba. She was mad at the clerk, she was mad at her husband and when she said she was so mad she thought she was going to have a panic attack, I just touched her elbow and told her I’d say a prayer that her travel panic would calm. She immediately softened and settled…God is so good. I handed her a tissue to wipe her tears and she went on her way more calmly. He showed me how he can soften, strengthen and bring peace when we ask.
Two hours later, I got in line again to re-book and standing in line in front of me was a toddler who had just had it. As her daddy set her down to hand his paperwork to the ticket agent, his daughter went into a full out melt down. She cried, rolled on the floor and sobbed. Over and over she kept saying, “Daddy I want you to hold me!” She was hot, hungry, tired and overwhelmed. Once her daddy finished what he was doing, he picked her up and she was instantly calm and peaceful. Although it would be more appropriate for me to pray than roll on the floor screaming for my Father to pick me up, he showed me that he’s what I need and when I call to him and trust that he hears me, he will bring me the same peace and comfort that toddler found in the arms of her daddy.
As I sat in busy airports all day I saw fancy people, frumpy people, happy people, shiny people and cranky people. I saw people excited about going places and people disappointed about their destination. I saw thousands of people, each with a different story but each with a common thread. No two people looked the same or waited the same or interacted the same, yet, each and every one of them were created in the image and likeness of God. Each one was made was fearfully and wonderfully made. Today, he allowed me to sit and marvel at the wonder of his creation. Thank you Father for letting me see how creative and wonderful your work is even when it wasn’t my planned activity for the day!
A Seed to plant: Take some time this week just to watch people and marvel at the creativity of our Creator.
Blessings on your day!
Who doesn’t love a great story about a boy and his dog! Today’s post is about that and more. It’s about friendship, faith and disappointments. Those are all a part of life and trusting God in the midst of them is a wise thing to do. Todays guest blogger is wise beyond his years and speaks from the heart. Kyle is an optimistic, strong, faithful young man who has one of those smiles that can light up a room. He is writing about his dog in this post but Kyle knows this lesson on a much deeper level. Kyle lost his mom after a courageous, inspiring, and grace filled battle with cancer when he was in the fourth grade. He has shown us all what it truly looks like to be a faithful disciple who seeks the love and peace of God when trials and disappointments come.
“You are looking for Jesus Of Nazareth… He is risen! He is not here.” MARK 16:6
I use to have two dogs. They were awesome! They would play with each other. They were great hunting dogs. They were a lot of things. People say all things come to an end. I don’t believe that. One of the dogs died and one ran away. Does that mean it was over? It doesn’t, because we got another dog and that one was even more awesome! Instead of having two dogs that were buddies; WE were buddies. Whenever I did something wrong and felt bad I went straight to my dog. My dog never judged me and was always by my side. My dog was always there for me.
What God is saying in this scripture verse is that if you lose something, something good will come. Even better than my dog, God will just always be there no matter what. If you do something wrong God will be there for you, if you feel bad, God will be there for you, if you need the best friend of all, God will be there for you.
My dog and I are close but I have to ask myself, what should I do in your life to grow closer to God. You have to relate his presence to real life situations. You have to always think about what you can do to be a stronger disciple.
A Seed To Plant: Read a Scripture verse each day, just one per day. Then all you have to do is try to relate. See what you can do to grow closer to God. Be the best disciple you can be.
Thank you Kyle, you are amazing!
Blessings on your day!
So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone…1 Samuel 17:50
Hands down David and Goliath is an Old Testament favorite among the students every year. I re-read it to some students for about the tenth time not long ago and the sling shot seemed to stay in my mind. (no pun intended) It’s really a crazy story when you think about it. What are the chances we could really inflict great bodily harm using a sling shot? Since I can’t hit the refrigerator with a rubber band, you can probably breathe easy if I come toward you with a sling shot because odds are good my shot won’t be within 5 feet of my target! It was such an odd weapon of choice for David don’t you think? I wonder what the giant must have thought as this very young soldier stood before him with it…did he find it insulting or funny or insanely ridiculous? I wonder if it made him angry or if he just wanted to bust out laughing.
Lately I seem to be confronting the “giants” in my day with a sling shot! Although David was able to conquer with it, I’m afraid I’m not so successful. I seem to keep missing the target and I wonder what God must think as he watches me wildly fling stones around and not really conquer the things that creep between us. I’m sure on some occasions He must have a good laugh at me; I must look like a nut throwing sand at an approaching army. I do believe I often miss the WHOLE point of the David and Goliath story. It wasn’t about David and his sling shot at all…it was about the power of God working through an open, trusting and expectant heart. David didn’t doubt, he just knew God would conquer. The truth is, David could have faced that enemy with a paper clip or a cotton ball and defeated him because it was the power of God that did the work not the power of man. I’m not so good at living that part of the story. I still think with enough practice, my sling shot and I will get better…NOT! It's not about the size of the battle or the weapon, it's the size of the faith and trust that determine the outcome.
Sometimes I add to the story. I continue reading as if the words are really there and tell the story about how David did a big end zone dance joyfully proclaiming his greatness as a sling shot shooter. Then he goes to King Saul and demands more pay and more fame and tells his story of greatness again and again. I can always count on at least two or three kids to realize I’m making that part up and that leads into a very important lesson in humility. Perhaps in my own quest for greatness I forget who really needs to aim my sling shot and why.
So we’ve reached the part in the story where I need to make a choice. Either I need another weapon to slay the sinful enemies and giants in my life or I need to let someone else aim my sling shot because I am a lousy shot! Let me see...I think I’ll try a little harder to go with the second choice!
A Seed To Plant: Read the story of David and Goliath and then seriously contemplate the things you’re trying to slay with a sling shot and then figure out which ones you need to hand over to God’s precise aim.
Blessings on your day!
May is busy; so todays post is an old story worth telling again. I was at a wedding last weekend with some of the great friends I mention in this post and we laughed about this day…so here’s to a great story re-told!
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:25
Have you ever noticed how something really terrific can come from a disaster? Sunday, our second son graduated from high school and we hosted his open house that same day because my dad was here with us for the weekend. Mexican was his menu choice and I had it planned down to the last detail plus a generous padding of “extra food” because nobody wants to be the party host who runs short on food. Well…it happened…I started to run low on food and my heart sank somewhere down into my shoes.
It would have been a disaster if it hadn’t been for the awesome crew of friends that flocked into my kitchen and saved the day. We cooked some more…we emptied the fridge and a couple of them went home and brought back the contents of their own fridge and pantry. At one point some dads were chopping up watermelon and they chased me out of my own kitchen telling me to leave and enjoy the guests. They took over and amazed me with their friendship, generosity and helpfulness. What a blessing.
When I first started to realize the food was flying off the serving table so quickly I slipped into the office for a minute to pray. The verse from Matthew's Gospel came to mind and I said, “Jesus I trust you!” I chose not to panic. I chose to believe if He could feed 5,000 He could feed a couple hundred and I chose to believe the words of t and not worry. Within minutes the unsolicited help started filing into the kitchen. God paints the dots on a ladybug and He provided me with friends who knew how to save the day…how lucky am I! No detail is too large or too small for such a loving Father.
I’m still scratching my head at the events of the day, but mostly I’m thanking the Good Lord for the blessing of friends and the grace of generous hearts. I will be the first to admit I am a MARTHA right to my core, so the day was a lesson in humility. I was reminded to be more like MARY and enjoy the “better part”. Sunday the “better part” was friendship and the surprising way God hears and answers when we trust. The other part of the blessing that day was enjoying the wonderful people who came to help us celebrate Jason’s special day. Martha here, would have missed that if it hadn’t been for the friends who chased me out of the kitchen.
Today it doesn’t matter that I would have done exactly the same thing for any one of those friends…what mattered is that they did it for me and I’m grateful and blessed. I’ve re-calculated my food list and I’m still baffled, but I finally wadded up the paper work and threw it in the trash because it doesn’t matter. If everything would have worked out according to “my plan” I would have missed the beauty of “His plan”…and as usual…He’s a much better planner than me! I thank God for those good friends. As one of them said to me years ago, "You know someone is a good friend when they can walk into your kitchen and wash your dishes.” I’m thrilled to report I had LOTS of those kind of good friends on Sunday. May God smile sweetly on each of them!
A Seed To Plant: As you plod through this day, stop and ask God where this verse might fit.
Blessings on your day!
Give thanks and remember!
Happy Memorial Day! I'm hoping that most of the Monday morning readers are doing something lovely today. It's so beautiful this weekend so I hope you are enjoying sunshine and beautiful outdoor events and fun where you are too.
Todays post is short, simple and important. Even though I'm not in school today, I am going to give you some homework. It doesn't matter where you complete it, I just ask that you remember to do it this Memorial Day. The assignment is to recall the reason we enjoy this day. Please spend some quiet time in prayer remembering...
*Remember and pray for all those who gave their life for our country. Are we honoring their sacrifice by defending the freedoms and privileges they gave their lives for?
* Remember those who make decisions about our military action. Pray that God will grant them a spirit of peace, justice and mercy as they make decisions.
*Pray for peace; peace in our families, our country and our world.
*Pray for our President and Congress. It's easy to complain about them but how often do we remember to specifically pray that God will inspire, uplift and bless them?
God Bless the USA...really! Spend some time thinking about and praying for that today, it's so much more than a slogan or a line from a song...today let it be our heartfelt prayer!
Blessings on your day!
As adults, one of our primary objectives is to take care of our children and keep them safe. As a parent and teacher there have been lots of moments spent pondering the “best way” to break bad news to kids. We don’t want to see them struggle and suffer and we can sometimes look at them as fragile or unable to process hard lessons. We often work to provide a buffer between bad news and the young ones we love. Today I am going to share a post that speaks to the strength and wisdom of one of the young ones. She writes with the wisdom of an old soul with a deep faith.
Todays post is by guest blogger Saige. She is strong, confident, faithful and funny. Saige is a natural born leader who quietly and gracefully leads others in the right direction. She has navigated her way through some difficulties this year but she has allowed those trials to strengthen both her faith and courage.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the older things have passed away. -Revelations 21:4
There was one specific part in Make Every Day Count, by Max Lucado, that talked about days of hospitals, sickness, and sorrow. A failing report card. Cemetery dirt still fresh. I read that paragraph and i just felt connected right away. I knew what all of those things felt like. Like the part about the cemetery dirt. A little while before Christmas, my grandma passed away and I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief. But when I was at Christmas Eve Mass, and I was up in the choir loft singing, I felt a wave of calmness come over me and I just felt better. I knew that God was helping me.
About a month or so after my grandma died, my grandpa, the one whose wife had just died, had a stroke. My uncle took him to the hospital right away. When I heard this, I was filled with sadness and worry all over again. He still isn’t his old self, but i know that God will take care of him the rest of the way, and make him the best that my grandpa can be.
Whatever you’re struggling with, you need to remember that God will take care of it, and you don’t need to worry. He will bring you peace when you need it and he will help you feel strong even when you don’t feel that way.
A seed to plant: If you are ever stuck in sadness, try to just go to church or listen to a religious song to help you to know that God is always with you.
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Saige...you're amazing!
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it. 2 Timothy 3:14
My heart is so full right now I can hardly type! Today I got to be the book ends to the school journey of some truly amazing young men and women. Today I got to see a group of students who were my very first class of 1st graders graduate from high school. The best part was that they invited me to be the speaker at their graduation and it was so much fun talking with my first group of little lovelies on this landmark day. I was asked to give a speech but instead I climbed down from the stage to stand on the field house floor and teach one last lesson to my graduate lovelies!
I spoke today on behalf of an entire community of teachers, bus drivers, school cooks, custodians, parents and grandparents who have invested in these kids for the last 12 years. I got to wish them well, offer some lessons on how to be an amazing human and invite them to be the catalyst for change in this world. In our small community these kids are known by name and they are prayed for and encouraged all along their way. I watched them walk across the stage right in front of me to get their diploma and I saw little backpacks and wide eyed first graders in my mind. It all zoomed by so fast that I felt a catch in my breath wondering if we had taught them all they need to know. I wondered if I did all I could to prepare them to make this world a better place. I prayed I had used well each opportunity I’d been given to help them grow in discipleship.
As I climbed down the steps to be closer to the kids for our last lesson, I remembered the first day they walked into my classroom and I’m pretty sure I was as scared then as I was today. I hoped I could cover my nervous voice and hold back the tears that stung behind my eyes. I hoped that the Holy Spirit would speak through me with the words he wanted them to hear. I felt the weight of responsibility that every teacher feels when they are given a classroom of young people. After the first couple of minutes I began to see their smiles and hear their laughter and every emotion bounding through my mind and my heart was replaced with hope and gratitude. They will do great thing, they will go great places and they will be amazing people! I have great hope that they will use their God given gifts and talents to make the world better. I’m grateful that I had a chance to be a part of their life, a part of their day, a part of their journey to this milestone. I’m grateful to be a teacher, it’s a vocation that reaps rewards that are too many to measure. Mostly I’m grateful that I landed here…in this place…in this community…to do this work. God is so good!
If the PW class of 2018 takes only one thing from todays lesson with them into the world I hope it’s the reminder that changing the world requires three simple things. Be kind, be honest and be grateful. When I give it some thought, that’s probably a great lesson for all of us!
A Seed To Plant: Which of the three things will you focus on today…kind, honest or grateful?
Blessings on your day!
Psalm 139 reminds us we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In other words, we are perfect in the eye of our Creator. That seems like a simple enough announcement but yet, we spend so many minute trying to be like, look like or in some way act like someone else. Today seems like the perfect day to take a look at ourselves through the Father’s eyes. Lets take notice of who we’re trying to follow and say thank you for our gifts instead of wanting someone else's. Todays guest blogger has the perfect post to get us started!
Todays post is brought to you by a genuine, huge hearted, young leader named Kash. This impressive young man was instrumental in getting the whole book study started, and his leadership with this project truly made a difference in our classroom!
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5
I really love football. My favorite player is Tom Brady because he is such a great quarterback. When we got this assignment and I was praying about what I was going to write about, I saw this scripture verse, it all clicked together. I realized I shouldn’t strive to be like a great athlete. Being like Tom Brady wan’t important; I thought instead, I should strive to be a great disciple. I am not saying you shouldn’t play sports, I am saying if you play sports you should always praise God and thank him for the gifts he gave you.
We should strive to be like Jesus. One way we can do this is go to mass. Another thing we can do is go to confessions so God can forgive us. After he forgives you praise him and thank him for taking your sins away.
God wants us to use the gifts he gave us. Thank God for all of the gifts you have and praise him.
A Seed To Plant: Some time today make a list of 5 gifts God has given you and be sure to tell him thank you!
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Kash…you’re amazing!
This weekend at Mass we celebrated the feast of the Ascension and Father Eric gave a terrific homily about the “Good Fridays and Easter Sundays” of our lives. We tend to want to take a pass on the Good Friday moments and wish for the joy of Easter Sundays to fill our days. It can be pretty easy to get stuck in the sadness when the struggles and difficulties of life come upon us. It can almost feel like things will never feel better. We are an Easter people though, and one of the greatest promises of Christ is that there will be resurrection joy. He will lift us from our sadness and struggle just like his Father lifted him, but there is work to be done in the dark days. Todays post reminds me that all of us feel pain and sadness but there is joy to choose and grace to be granted.
Kambrie is todays guest blogger and she is a perpetual spring of enthusiasm, compassion and sweetness! She’s a hard worker with a heart warming smile and an A+ attitude. She tackled a topic that really tugged at her heart and it reminds us that the good goes with the bad.
“If any of you want to be my followers you must forget about yourself . You must take up your cross each day and follow me.” Luke 9:23
In our book, Make Every Day Count, they talk about death and how death gives you sorrow and how we change our sadness to joy. But how exactly do we do that?
Two years ago I was at my grandma and grandpa’s house with a lot of my cousins. We were all eating pizza beside my grandpa who was very sick. I was standing next to his bed talking to my sister. When I looked over at my grandpa,his eyes were open and was looking around the room. I was so excited because he rarely opened his eyes but I realized he hadn’t blinked yet. I went into the kitchen to talk to my parents about it. When I told them my parents were shocked. They went running into the living room and that’s when I found out he passed away.
As I was standing there crying,I thought this is what my grandpa wanted, he was free now. He was always smiling and cheered people up and that it would be the best thing to remember about him. I had to remember those things were important to him and thats what I needed to think about. Sad things happen but we can’t let that get in the way of living our life to the fullest.
A Seed to Plant: Think of a sad day;as you remember that day can you find joy in it?
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Kambrie…you’re amazing!
It’s May…the universal crazy pace month! This is the month jam packed with events, activities and just lots of STUFF! The month of May can cause us to loose our breath and come a little unravelled around the edges! In honor of crazy May and the general unravelling we sometimes experience this time year, todays post hits the nail on the head!
Todays guest blogger is Gracen. He is a witty guy with a huge sense of humor and a deep affection for a great prank! I remember well his famous smirk as he looked up into the bleachers at me while the story you’re about to read unfolded.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
Five Christmas Pageants ago, I had just finished singing my 1st grade song. When we finished, we left the risers and sat on the gym floor. As I sat there, I noticed a little string on my new red sweater. It was common sense at the time to quickly yank it off. The only problem was, the string didn't rip off. I kept pulling and pulling and pulling until one sleeve of my sweater was about 2 in shorter than the other. The little red string became a heap of red string. I walked up to my teacher, Mrs. Wohlfert, and she couldn't stop laughing. We fixed the sweater with about 15 safety pins to hold my sleeve together.
The lesson I learned in our book and with my sweater in first grade is this; no matter how unraveled or undone things can get, God will always love you. It just doesn’t matter how unraveled you may get, the Man Upstairs will stitch you together with strings of grace.
A seed to plant: How unraveled is your sweater? Is it brand-new or is it a little unraveled? Spend some time in prayer this week and think if your sweater is brand -new or does your sweater need some stitches by the Heavenly Father.
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Gracen…you’re amazing!
This weekend I had the opportunity to speak at a conference for Deacons and their wives in the Diocese of Lubbock, TX. As I sat in the audience waiting my turn to take the stage, I was wrestling with some fear. The fear was self inflicted because the morning speakers were Deacon Dominick Pastore and his wife Teresa Tomeo Pastore. Teresa Tomeo is a Catholic Rock Star! She is a famous TV and Radio personality and the author of many powerful books. To say I was a wee bit apprehensive to follow in the footsteps of such giants of the faith is an understatement. As I sat wrestling, I heard that familiar message of the Father that reminds me; Sheri, I’ve called you to be my servant, not a star. Fear was trying to creep it’s way into my heart and that’s when I remembered a lesson taught by one of my own students who is todays guest blogger.
Todays blogger is truly a sweet, gentle, beautiful daughter of God. Melanie shares her many gifts and talents as easily as she shares her warm smile and her faithful spirit.
“Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself.” - Matthew 6:34
Last month, I nervously walked into the State Finals Spelling Bee with hundreds of thoughts twirling around my head. I had just placed 2nd in the Diocesan spelling bee to another speller, who seemed like she knew every word in the English language. This was my second state finals and I had studied very hard, but I still feared that my mind would go blank. I wanted to represent my school well, but a sense of worry loomed in the back of my mind.
Just a while back, we began these books as a Lenten reflection in our class. The girls were reading, Make Every Day Count by Max Lucado. The book was a great tool to grow closer to Christ and it touched my heart in many places. But one chapter really spoke to me. It helped me with something I knew I had; fear!
Fear is one of the most negative energies out there. It originates from the feeling that God’s plan won’t work or we’re not good enough. Yet, fear is something we should embrace. But why?
Fear happens to everyone. It can actually be beneficial or harmful, but it depends how you look at it and how you use it. If we let what we’re scared of take over our minds and hearts, we could be in for some serious damage. Rather, take fear as an opportunity, not a burden.
We can use fear to grow in holiness, because every day we can choose how to tackle it. Instead of running from our fears, we can run to God for the strength and guidance to overcome them. God hasn’t abandoned us; he is always waiting with open arms to aid us in our times of need. All we have to do is believe that he can help us and he does care about us. Because it’s true. But, we also must believe that he will help us, even if it doesn’t happen right away. We must still place our trust in God, even if we are waiting, or else we’ll begin to doubt Him and ask,“Can He do this?” “Does He even care about me?” “I’m not sure He’ll even help…” “Why isn’t God helping me?”
You may be wondering, why can’t I just let my fear go and that be the end of it? Well, to be able to let go of something, first you must embrace it. Just like you have to take the opportunity to run to Jesus and admit you have fears before you can get rid of them.
As I stood up to that microphone to spell my first word, I realized that I was prepared and ready to do my best. And even if I did get out, God didn’t love me any less. I knew that Jesus was right by my side and he had everything under control.
A Seed to Plant: Imagine Jesus running toward you, and taking all your fears away. Offer up all of your worries to God today.
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Melanie…you are amazing!
Back in February, I wrote a post called “Kids and Books”. It was about my amazing 6th graders and the book study project they instigated. (If you missed that one, you might want to go back and give it a read to truly understand how proud I am of these amazing students!)As lent rolled along they continued to read and discuss their faith based books. The project was completely student driven and it was my great pleasure to sit back and listen to them discuss what they were thinking and feeling in regards to their Catholic faith and the way they saw Jesus working in their life. As the final project, I assigned each student the task of taking one or two things they learned in their reading and discussion and write a blog entry for the Joyful Words Blog. They were asked to follow the same basic format that the posts typically take; scripture, story, lesson, conclusion and a seed to plant. I gave them a week to complete the task but most of them had finished their assignment by the next day. Over the next few weeks, it will be my great pleasure to introduce you to the “guest bloggers” from our classroom. They are truly an amazing class and the power in their posts are compliments of their simple, trusting, open hearted faith.
The first guest blogger is Landon. He is a kind, strong, funny, hard working young man. He loves animals, being outside and is currently very excited about his newborn goats. Landon’s post is a great reminder about the importance of God’s mercy and the grace found in a fresh start.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”Matthew 7:7
Way back in first grade, we had a student traffic light chart. The traffic light was used to show how good we were being in class. I had a couple yellow lights, but never got a red. Every time I got a yellow light, my mind would freak out. The light would change back to green if my teacher saw me behaving, so I tried my best to make myself a fresh start. I started fresh because my teacher and I wanted me to start again and refresh my behavior.
It’s never too late for a fresh start even if you are falling apart from God, he will always love you and he will never leave you hanging. I have experienced many times of falling apart from God and getting myself back together like God would want me to. We all sin, that’s why God gives us a fresh start, we just need to use them.
Just like the traffic light in 1st grade we need to set a goal to keep it green. If we fall apart from God, we need to accept that he wants us to start over at the green light. All we need to do is knock at his door.
A seed to plant: Say a prayer that God will help you stay on track with a green light and think how you can be a better disciple of God. Search, and you will find.
Thanks Landon, you’re amazing!
Blessings on your day!
Children let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. 1John 3:18
I love watching parents in action. I especially love it when a mom or dad can immediately halt a behavior with just a look. You know; “the look”. No words needed, just “the look”. I find it really amazing when that look comes from a tiny, gentle, sweet little mom. I observed a tiny, mighty, master mom at work in the airport Friday afternoon and I’m tellin you what, as I got caught in the cross hairs of her gaze, I felt a chill and I sat up straight myself! As fierce as that look was, it was done out of love for her squabbling boys and it was so much better than ugly words or threats. I can only imagine what this world could become if we all took a cue from this line in St. Johns letter and focused on our deeds more than our words.
The first few words of this verse give us a mission; LOVE. Love is so much more than sappy, kissey-face, goey stuff. Hollywood gets it wrong, social media gets it wrong, television gets it wrong so it’s no wonder we’re all a little fuzzy when it comes to figuring out what love really looks like! The kind of love St. John was writing about is the real deal kind of love. Love is mercy and mercy means forgiveness and forgiveness means choosing the Father’s way. Love allows us to see people as their Creator sees them and when we look through his lens, love becomes giving and not taking. Love is not a suggestion, it’s necessary to make earthly life meaningful and eternal life possible.
I don’t know about you, but I could seriously pray on this verse for weeks and probably still not get it right. We are told by the world to find our voice and use our words, but it seems like it’s all becoming a giant screaming match with everybody trying to out-talk the next guy. It’s also a little tricky to navigate through all the words and messages and pick out the truth. Words can be twisted and misinterpreted but actions are concrete and powerful. When we think about the loving things we can do for others, it’s important to think small. Most of us will not be called to build a hospital, start an orphanage or open a school to serve forgotten children. We are simply being asked to do simple things with great love.
Yesterday I sat in a huge, old, gorgeous cathedral and I was captivated by the beauty, but I was more deeply touched watching the people and the way I saw this verse come to life. I got to watch the woman in front of me reach over to touch the shoulder of a hurting friend. No words were spoken, just a simple touch and a look that was steeped in compassion. As I was gazing at the stories being told in the stunning stained glass windows, I was distracted by a man who used his neck tie to play peek-a-boo with a restless toddler in front of him whose mom was trying desperately to hold on to his wiggly body. As I listened to the Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City deliver a powerful homily, my gaze shifted to the usher as he welcomed a disheveled and frazzled looking little old woman and took her fail arm and escorted her to a seat. She wore years of worry on her brow but as that usher put out his arm and led her to an empty seat you could see the look of gratefulness and peace on her face as she settled in to listen. As I left the Cathedral, I noticed the little house next door that served sandwiches to the city’s homeless every day. God gave me a line from scripture during mass and then illustrated it for me in living color. I love it when he makes it so easy to see!
Maybe today is a good day to just be quiet and do something. Loving deeds speak louder than words…let’s get busy!
A Seed To Plant: Spend a couple days praying with this verse and ask God to put people in your path who need a little action packed quiet love!
Blessing on your day!
Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
Several years ago my friend Cindy and I did a 60 mile walk from Ann Arbor to Detroit to raise money for breast cancer research. That 3 day walk was long, difficult and amazing. We took off that first day not really grasping what it would take physically and emotionally to walk about 20 miles three days in a row. The first day was great but on day 2 and 3 it was a little tougher to get up and get motivated because I knew how far that distance was and I knew what I would feel like at the end of the day. Looking back, it’s one of my favorite memories but I can honestly say I’d probably never do it again.
The distance made that weekend a challenge, but as I get older, I realize sometimes shorter distances can prove to be just as difficult as that long 60 mile walk. There is one short distance that trips me up nearly every day. That distance is a mere 18 inches from my head to my heart. There are so many things I know in my mind to be true and right, but that knowledge and wisdom doesn’t always travel to my heart where I can put things in action. I’ve been noticing the Father inviting me to pay attention to that distance lately.
I can read lots of scripture and say lots of prayers but if I don’t let those words travel from my mind to my heart, they don’t become action. I can write all kinds of goals and ambitions in my prayer journal but if I don’t set my heart on them, they are nothing more than words on a page. In my mind I know he loves me infinitely but when I shrink away from his affection and hide from him when I’ve done something I think will disappoint him, my heart isn’t living his love.
I know he will meet my every need but when I find myself feeling jealous of things others have, I’m not letting the knowledge make it to my heart so I can feel gratitude more than greed. When I compare every meal I cook to something the Pioneer Woman creates in her test kitchen or when I walk into my living room and compare it to something Chip and Joanna create, I’m stuck in my head, not my heart. Making those comparisons is a little like thinking the fancier my stuff is, the more the Father loves me. If I closed that 18 inch gap a little I would realize that’s nonsense. God doesn’t sprinkle his love like ship lap and cinnamon, he slathers it right into our struggles, disappointments and simple joys.
My head tells me he’d love me more if I was put together and less of a hot mess; my heart tells me he is delighted to meet me in the middle of my daily disasters. My head tells me I should work harder to be good so he’ll love me more; my heart tells me he doesn’t expect perfection, just prayerfulness, contrition and a dozen do-overs a day. My head tells me I’m not worthy of his love; my heart agrees but reminds me worthiness isn’t a condition for being loved and cherished by my Creator. My head tell me I’ll never be good enough or strong enough or holy enough; my heart tells me I’m HIS and he will be all those things for me. My head tells me work harder; my heart reminds me that he says “rest in me”.
Who knew there could be such a disconnect in that short distance! I’m thinking I don’t need to take a long hike or climb a tall mountain; I just need to do a better job at the short space between my head and my heart…that’s a mission that will keep me busy for a while!
A Seed To Plant: Jot down 3 or 4 things that get jumbled in that distance between your head and your heart.
Blessings on your day!
She left and did as Elijah had said. She was able to eat for a year…1 Kings 17:15
A wise little girl told me one time that what the world needed most is “more giving stuff away.” It made me giggle but something about that simple little idea just clung in my thoughts. I’m still unfolding the story of the Prophet Elijah and the widow that I wrote about last week and that little girl’s idea bounced in my mind. As adults, we know the word is generosity and she’s right, the world needs more of it. The widow in the story matched her loving generosity with a gigantic dose of trust. I think that’s a pretty powerful combination don’t you?
I was watching a little video clip about St. Katherine Drexel last weekend and her life too demonstrated enormous generosity coupled with amazing trust. When Katherine’s wealthy parents died, their estate left Katherine and her sisters with 14 million dollars each. Today that amount would be closer to 400 million. Even though her family was very wealthy, their wealth was outmatched by their generosity. The Drexel family opened their home three afternoons a week to bring in and feed, clothe and pray with the poor and the needy. Guided by her parents example of loving generosity, Katherine became a nun and used her fortune to generously serve societies lost and forgotten. Out of that entire fortune, not one little bit was saved for herself. One of the people I was watching the video with said, “I think I would have set some aside in a special little account just in case.” Like the widow, it was generosity first, trust second and blessings third.
Don’t be puzzled, this is not a post offering financial guidance for managing the millions of dollars you have lying around, I will let you manage your millions yourself! It is however a good day to look at all of the thing that constitute our personal fortune, like our time, health, resources and God-given gifts and talents. It’s a good day to evaluate our generosity and trust, using the example of the heroes of our faith. There are people like Katherine who have so much and then there are people like the widow who have so little yet both acted with such generosity it left a mark! I suppose that eliminates all excuses for the rest of us doesn’t it! We are each called to be generous stewards of our gifts no matter how great or how small they seem. We are also called to give an example of generosity to our friends and family. I wonder what Katherine would have done with her fortune if she hadn’t grown up in a home that flung open its doors to love and care for the poor? I have to ask myself what I have taught my own children about generosity.
I think the biggest thing sitting on my heart as I type this post…what does my loving God have in store for me if I were to act in complete generosity and trust? The widow got a blessing far beyond imagination, Katherine Drexel was blessed immeasurably by those she loved and served in the name of Christ. So what’s waiting for me? I suppose I have to grow in trust, act with greater generosity and see what happens. I’ll keep you posted!
A Seed To Plant: As you sit in prayer this week, ask God to show you how to be more generous and trusting.
Blessings on your day!
Do not be afraid…1 Kings 17:13
The other night I was making dinner and I reached in the cupboard to grab the olive oil. I pulled out the dark green bottle and began to pour, only to discover that instead of a stream of oil coming from the bottle all I was seeing was a few drips! I immediately got frustrated at the inconvenience. Instead of quickly finishing up, I had to go dig through the pantry and hopefully retrieve a full bottle. After just a few seconds of looking and re-shuffling the pantry I found a full bottle and returned to my task. As I stood there in my kitchen stirring I was wondering who it was who emptied the old one without replacing it and why couldn’t they have just taken a few more seconds to replace the bottle instead of leaving the work to me. Then like a smack to the head, I remembered the story of the widow and Elijah from the Old Testament.
If you remember the story, Elijah shows up at this widow’s house during a time of famine and asks her for some water to drink and something to eat. She looks at him and lets him know she’d love to help but can’t. She honestly reports that she has only a bit of oil and a tiny bit of flour and she was getting ready to prepare the last of it for a meal for herself and her son…get this…and then they were going to die because there was no more food. Pause there for a minute…replay…I’m going to use the last drops of oil and spoons of flour to make a cake (yum ?) for us and then we will prepare to die. Not, then I will go to the pantry and get more oil. Not, then I will run to the store and buy more oil or go to the neighbor’s house and borrow more. I will use what I have and that is the end of it all. I can’t even imagine!
As I stood in my kitchen embarrassed about my little empty oil bottle tiff and the widows story I began to see things differently. I glanced over at a full pantry. Behind me was a full refrigerator and on the counter was a bowl of fruit all of which could probably feed a village in some places of the world and suddenly the word plenty was the only one I could think of. I have plenty; plenty of food, plenty of money, plenty of clothes, plenty of EVERYTHING but yet I often focus on what I don’t have instead of what I have plenty of. All of the sudden I felt pretty small, pretty foolish and pretty ungrateful.
The widow’s story continues when Elijah tells her to go ahead and make him some food and the Lord will take care of her and her son. In an unbelievable act of faith she uses the rest of her resources to feed Elijah and as promised, her oil jug and her flour jar never ran dry. The story is about so much more than kitchen staples! God offers the same promise to us each and every day. Just trust me, I will take care of you because I love you and I will reward your faithfulness. The widow loved God more than she loved her stuff. The widow was generous and trusting to an extreme; and her generosity and faithfulness were rewarded to an extreme. It’s a story that offered me perspective and reflection. It made me think about my own gratefulness and trust and generosity. I can’t change all the crazy stuff going on in the world right now but I can’t help but think how much different things would be if we focused on a few of the widow’s lessons and figured out how to use them in our own life.
A Seed To Plant: Read the story from 1Kings 17:7-16 and ask God to help you reflect on the story and show you how he wants you to draw closer to him.
Blessings on your day!
"There's a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” John 6:9
I have a confession to make…sometimes when I’m in mass and the reading is one I’ve heard dozens of times, I can tend to “tune out” thinking; oh yeah, I know this one! Last Friday at school mass the Gospel was the story of the loaves and fishes. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t offer my complete attention as the Gospel began because I knew how this one ended. Pinching myself for having such a bad attitude, I quickly asked God to show me something new; please give me a new idea about this story. He did!
As I was listening to the Gospel I wondered; what if the boy hadn’t shared his bread? What if he had thought it was too small, or not the right shape or maybe a little over-baked or lumpy looking? What if he figured it was never enough to begin with so why bother? It was at that moment I realized it was a good thing I was not the little boy with the bread because I probably would have thought about all those things and more! I am often the queen of “ALL OR NONE” thinking. Jesus took whatever was offered that day and made it perfect.
As I was puddling this through in my head, Fr. Eric offered a line in his homily that hit my heart and finished the lesson I had asked the Lord to teach me that morning. He talked about the times in life when the best we have to offer the Father are our crumbs. I am often worried about offering only a perfect loaf when all he really needs from me are my crumbs.
I bake 3 loaves of bread every week. One is always a give away loaf, I just take it to school with me and ask the Lord to direct me to the person who might need a little something special that day. Dave is always happy to get the other two loaves but I’m guilty of studying the 3 loaves and most often choosing the nicest one to give away. I will also admit if I have a week when the bread doesn’t turn out pretty, I won’t give one away at all. In all my time of giving away bread, nobody ever commented on it’s color, shape or size. Each person I’ve given bread to takes it with a smile and goes home to make toast. As Fr. Eric talked about giving God our crumbs it all made sense.
God is…well he’s God; the author of perfection, so why would I doubt for one minute that I had to offer him a perfect loaf when all he needs are my crumbs. He can take the broken, the crumbled, the messy and the small and turn them into absolute perfection. I don’t have to be the perfect christian, I don’t have to be the perfect wife, mom or teacher. He’s asking for the tiny crumbs of my life to be lifted up so he can bring great good. When we give him our crumbs, he can do great things with them and then we just simply stand back and give him the glory. The Gospel doesn’t tell us the little boy’s name; it doesn’t matter. His humble generosity trumped his notoriety. I’m not gonna scream out to the world, “Hey look at my crumbs!” I’m going to give them to the Father and then stand back and say, “Hey look what he did!” Thank you Father for taking my crumbs!
A Seed To Plant: Read this familiar story with new eyes this week and then ask the Lord to help you lift up your crumbs.
Blessings on your day!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
How about that for a Thursday kick in the pants! As I think about the Prophet Isaiah’s words, they have a more truthful application to my life than I’d like to admit! My thoughts ramble off into the back 40 during prayer and the things I’m thinking are definitely not His thoughts and sometimes, my ways are so NOT His ways! Why do we do that…when we know we shouldn’t speak words to others we wouldn’t speak directly to Him and we know His way and His plan trump ours EVERY time? Yet we keep runnin around sayin stuff we shouldn’t say and doin stuff that our stubborn nature tells us is easier! I guess it all leads me back to the truth…I’m just a big ole sinner who needs the love and mercy of a Gracious God because I sure can’t get it right without Him! Maybe that’s the whole point!
Not long ago I heard a priest teach a simple prayer during his homily. Here it is, “Thank You God, Your will be done!” Even I can remember that one! Seems simple and easy and makes sense...until you begin to think about when you should say it! It’s going to be easy to say that little prayer when I get a good parking spot, or when something good happens. The tricky part is when the yucky stuff happens. Fr. Gordon used the examples, when you loose your keys in the snow, “Thank you God, Your will be done.” Or when you loose your cell phone, “Thank you God, Your will be done…now I have more time to talk to You.” Seven little words that can change everything! I think we can get so busy we forget to have that ongoing dialogue with Our Father, maybe lost keys and slow traffic and broken mower belts really are a tiny nudge inviting us to speak with Him.
Disappointments are a great place to plug in this prayer! When things don’t go the way we plan, we can get pretty down. I remember not getting a teaching job I wanted so badly! I prayed, I researched, I practiced interviewing I did everything to prepare yet despite my best efforts, the interview committee picked someone else! I was so disappointed! I called my mom in tears and she listened to me blubber on and on and when I was finished, she softly said, “It wasn’t your job to get!” I remembered that conversation clear as a bell in church as Fr. Gordon was talking about that very simple little prayer and on the drive home, Isaiah’s words chimed in and I was overwhelmed with the power of God’s plan. It hit me that if I had gotten that teaching job, I would not have gone to K-State, I would not have found out about the job opening with the State Department of Education in Michigan, I would not have moved here, met and married Dave Wohlfert, had three wonderful children and my life would NOT be any of the terrific things it is right now! Thank you God, Your will be done! And it was done…with amazing attention to detail I might add! It’s surprising what seven little words can stir up!
God always knows what He’s doing. We have to thank Him especially when things don’t go our way. I don’t know about you but sometimes I forget that part. The harder something is, the bigger our thank you should be! He blesses us through good and happy things and He blesses us BIGGER through the difficult, disappointing and heartbreaking! We tend to see what’s good for us; He sees what’s good for ALL of His children. We have to remember we aren’t the only ones He has to care for. Our disappointment is most likely someone else’s blessing…we can stamp our feet like a spoiled impatient toddler or we can use that time for some of the greatest prayer and fortifying ever. He doesn’t withhold things to make us squirm, He waits for the perfect time and the perfect place and the perfect peace…all He asks is that we thank Him and ask Him to show us His way while we wait on His perfect timing. His ways, His words…yeah, it makes sense since we are His children!
A seed to plant: Write this little prayer down and stick it somewhere so you’ll remember to pray it often. Thank you God, Your will be done!
Blessings on your day!
I am an imperfect person loved by a perfect God!
I had a funny realization the other day when I had the middle lovelies and their kindergarten buddies at mass. One of the littles had a runny nose so the big buddy turned and asked me if I had a Kleenex they could give the kindergartener. I immediately began rummaging through my coat pockets pulling out Kleenex after Kleenex. I smiled and thought I must have looked a little like a magician pulling colorful scarves out of a hat. I finally came to one that was wadded but after careful inspection, I could tell it hadn’t been used. It looked a little rumpled but as I did the unfold test I could tell it was a “never been used” one. Feeling a bit successful at the fruitful Kleenex search mission, I handed it up with pride to the middle lovely. The little one looked a bit suspicious and after using it the child looked at their big buddy and said, “My mom buys the kind that come in the little rectangle package and come out folded nicely, I’m not sure I like this kind.” It took everything I had not to laugh out loud!
As I looked down at the pile of crumpled white Kleenexes in my lap and began to tuck them all back in my coat pockets I realized my discipleship journey is a whole lot like that crumped pile of Kleenex! Here’s what I mean…
*When I forget to let God be in charge, things get all wrinkled, wadded and jumbled.
*Even when things get messy in the middle, all I need is a fresh corner to clean up my act.
*Things rarely come neatly packaged and perfectly stacked like the little rectangle Kleenex packages.
*Things don’t always have to look new, neat and tidy to work well, sometimes following Christ is just messy and unpredictable.
*God loves me even when I’m a rumpled mess and all I have left is a little room around the edges.
*God always wants to give a little extra love so I have some left to share.
*Just because I appear to be prepared, well packaged and all put together, it doesn’t mean I’m holy. Holiness focuses on the inside not the outward appearance.
*Just like those tissues in my pocket, God has a very specific purpose in my life and I sometimes have to do a little searching to find it.
*All too often, I have to dig around and try all the wrong things before I get to the good one.
*Finding a good Kleenex right before a sneeze is a great relief but it’s nothing compared to the relief in my life when I let God take control right before I try to do it my own way and goof it up.
Some people say they never really hear God speak to them; perhaps the problem is they just aren’t listening carefully because he can communicate his lessons and his love in the strangest ways; even in a pile of rumpled Kleenexes!
A Seed To Plant: Are you a fresh new package disciple or are you one who’s a little ruffled around the edges? Take some time in prayer this week and think about it…are you waiting until everything is in perfect order to invite him in or are you willing to invite him into your mess?
Blessings on your day!
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
I have watched the pictures trickle through my newsfeed all week and they make me sigh a little. It’s spring break week for folks around here and the family trip pictures from beaches, cruises, mountains and lovely places have been fun to see. Today however, the joy shrunk a little as I looked out my window to a windy April snow storm. As I grabbed a heavier sweatshirt I suddenly wished a few of those lovely beach people would be pinched by a sand crab or something! I know that was not very christian of me but looking at the April blizzard in my front yard made me a little jealous!
When the snow stopped I realized I’d been completely childish and I apologized for my ugly thoughts and jealous wishes. As I stopped to think on it for a bit I realized it was a great lesson on a subject I obviously haven’t learned yet. Contentment is the name of the lesson and rejoicing in another mans blessings is the assignment. I flunked both today!
As I was busy humbugging other peoples fun I forgot how thankful I am that I got to take three of those trips when each of our kids were seniors. I forgot that I’ve been able to slow down and catch up this week…I’ll really appreciate that on Monday! I forgot that I was able to go to Jim and Tonya’s funeral this week and be amazed and inspired at the strength of their three children as they delivered their parents ecology with the strength and grace of faithful warriors. If I’d have been on a beach I would have missed Easter with a few dozen family members that I love and I’d miss a trip to Franciscan University this weekend to see my daughters Nursing Dedication Ceremony. My hamper wouldn’t be empty, my furniture wouldn’t be dust free and my refrigerator wouldn’t be absent of anything green and fuzzy. All of that makes me feel a little accomplished I suppose!
I have to remember that THIS really is the day the Lord has made and he made me right where I am for a good reason. Before I hit the pillow tonight I’ll be sure and thank him for that. And, I’ll be sure to say a prayer for all those beautiful people enjoying a lovely trip with the family they love.
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of 5 things you are grateful for right now!
Blessings on your day!
The Lord hears the cry of the poor. Psalm 34
When I hear the word poor I usually think of no money…anyone else think that? I know financial poverty is not what the Psalmist was referring to so I paused to think about the bigger meaning of these words. I pondered all the areas of my life where I was poor and here’s what I came up with.
There are days when I am very poor in patience. My tongue can be snappy and my judgments quick. One of the great casualties of being poor in patience is not being a good listener. I wondered how many things happened on these days that could make me richer if I wasn’t so busy being impatient. Lord, on these impatient days,help me remember to cry out for your calm and your peace.
Sometimes I am poor in trust. When my pockets seem to be emptied of his treasure I decide to take control and do God’s work for Him. I tend to look to heaven and say “I got this one God!” I can tell ya how that usually works out. When I’m poor in trust I doubt His love for me and the wisdom of His plan…silly me! I forget that I’m looking at one page of the story and He’s holding the whole book! Lord, on the days I lack trust, help me remember to say the words Jesus, I trust in You.
More often than I’d like to admit I’m poor in acceptance. I have to remind myself often that things in my life are organized specifically the way God needs them to be. When money is tight or when success seems to find its way into someone else’s life it’s tough not to get discouraged. One of the things I work on with my middle lovelies is celebrating when good things come to others because they are blessings from God. All too often instead of celebrating with others in their good fortune we evaluate all the reasons it should have happened to us instead. When I’m poor in acceptance; Lord remind me to keep my nose in my own journey.
I think I am the poorest when I fail to live in the present. God has created THIS day for me. Yesterday is already finished and tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. The people, the opportunities, the joys and the challenges of THIS day are His gift to me and it’s my job to soak it all in and ask constantly through the day what the plan for all of it is. When I get this right, I feel His blessings. Recently I had a mountain of a day to climb; jobs, tasks, deadlines, projects and a teacher evaluation scheduled on top of it all. I woke up that morning feeling like limpy lettuce! It wasn’t even 5 in the morning and I wanted to go back to bed and be done with the day. I threw up my hands in morning prayer thinking God, how in the world am I supposed to “rejoice and be glad”when I’ve got a day like this! I then stumbled across the word surrender several times in my readings and prayers that morning. So, that’s what I did…I flat out said, “God, if you plan to be hearing from me during evening prayers tonight, you best be sending re-enforcements because I can’t get this all done and still be joyful.” I gave Him the day and I just sat back and watched Him show off! I was very rich indeed that day. Things fell in place, help I didn’t even request showed up, and the middle lovelies were particularly bright and funny that day. The grand finale to the day was a cancelled meeting and plopping into bed at 11:40 only to realize that I’d smacked the wrong button on my alarm clock that morning and it was really only 10:40. That was just icing on the cake! The Lord hears our cries…especially when we see and ask for help in the places we’re poor. Try Him…cry out and see how He answers
A Seed To Plant: Spend some time in prayer asking God to help you see the areas where you are poor. He’s waiting to hear and answer your cry for riches in these areas.
Blessings on your day!
Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8
Happy Holy Week! This is the most powerful week in the life of a Christian. It’s a week to pause, ponder and pray. I’d like everyone reading this post to take some time to stop in their tracks and soak in the beauty, sorrow, sacrifice and magnificence of this week. Imagine for a few minutes what it would be like if Holy Week were made into a motion picture; I know Mel Gibson kind of already did that but think of it in your own mind and your first task is to cast yourself in one of the roles. I’m going to assume none of us would cast ourselves in the role of Jesus, so I’ve listed some of the other characters for you to select from. So…climb up in the director’s chair and see where you fit best.
John – beloved, loyal friend…the only Apostle to travel to Calvary and weep at the feet of the crucified Christ…generous even to the point of taking the mother of Christ into his home; must be fearless enough to walk beside Jesus as he carries his cross and tender enough to comfort and console His mother in her unspeakable grief and agony.
Peter – strong, faithful follower…until put to the test…must be willing to seek with all your heart the forgiveness and mercy of the loving Jesus after you deny him not once but three times.
Apostles – must be willing to abandon all of your possessions to follow a man named Jesus who you don’t always understand…must make a commitment to tell His story with enormous passion for the rest of your days…must be able to live with the guilt of falling asleep and running away to hide during the very hours your love, prayers and support are needed most.
Judas – must have serious issues with priorities and loyalties…demonstrate in living color how wealth and power can blind good judgment and destroy truth.
Simon of Cyrene - strong, compassionate and helpful spirit…must be willing to help another of God’s children with absolutely no regard to personal cost or gain.
Veronica – courageous, tender and loving, yet brave in the face of tremendous personal danger…must be willing to act spontaneously with unsurmountable compassion being your only motive.
Mary – unfathomable obedience and absolute reliance on the strength of God the Father…complete surrender of every joy and every sorrow…flawless, sinless and utterly selfless even to the point of unthinkable personal grief and torment inflicted on a mothers heart.
Pontius Pilate - curious, conflicted and controlled by circumstances of politics and position…must feel deeply but lack the confidence and security to properly act on your beliefs.
Claudia – (wife of Pilate) must be open to the promptings and stirrings of God in your life and possess the personal confidence and conviction to share those stirrings and promptings without reservation even if others don’t respond in the manner you know is right.
Chief priests and leaders – cowardly, deceitful and dishonest…must prize authority, power and vanity over all things…must be willing to hush or squash all things that might interfere with personal security and position…must have a great ability to distort or ignore the truth in the name of personal security and achievement.
The Crowd – must be willing to go with the flow…acceptant of popular opinion and able to be swept up in the culture no matter the consequence of your actions…must be unwilling to form, voice or defend a clear sense of right, wrong, truth or justice.
So…which part fits best? If you’re like me, as you study the list you can see yourself in lots of roles…but that isn’t a positive thing. The roles I desire most seem to be the places where I give my most lack-luster performances and as much as I look hatefully upon some of the characters, I sometimes see myself in their role. This week isn’t as much a “reliving” of an event as it is a “reflection” on their power to transform us into Christians, who love more tenderly, appreciate more deeply, sacrifice more obediently and repent more wholeheartedly. It’s a week to be drawn in by the overwhelming and overpowering love of the Savior who endured all of this for US while contemplating the reality of the fact that our sins did this to Him. It’s not a regular week, it has a title for a reason, make it your mission this week to live like you know this week is different, it’s Holy!
A Seed To Plant: Make a plan right this minute for the way your actions and behaviors will make this week different. Decide what to put aside this week, what to pick up this week and include plans for reading the Gospel accounts of this week.
Blessings on your day!
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