Praying About Everything

Gratitude Day 484

Wed., July 8, 2020

Philippians 4:6 – Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.

You would think with all of the time we get to spend at home these days, I would be caught up.

Or catching up.

Or nearly caught up.

Nope. It just isn’t happening.

Well, at my household, that is.

I’m still working on “things” I thought I would get done in March. Yep, March. Not May.

Why does everything seem to take so much longer these days? Maybe, it’s just me.

Nonetheless, it’s easy to get caught up about what is NOT getting done. I do it all the time.

Look at the verse at the top of the page. Or don’t … and just look at this quick paraphrase instead:

Worry about nothing. Pray about everything.

The end.

While I would not say that I am a worrier, I would say that I fret about what doesn’t get done in a day. Or week. Or month.

So, maybe this verse should say:

Fret about nothing. Pray about everything.

Maybe you don’t worry. Or fret. Maybe you overthink. In that case:

Overthink nothing. Pray about everything.

You get the drift. Replace the first word with the word that you find most often in your life. But leave the next four words alone. Don’t touch them. They are the words that can’t change because they are heart of the saying.  

Now, read them again.

Pray.

About.

Everything.

Amen.

Every day.

All day.

Today.

Tomorrow.

The next day.

Give up worry.

Pray instead.

So, rather than focusing on what didn’t get done in your day, focus on praying. Maybe, just maybe, the rest will begin to make sense.

Vector religions lettering – Don’t worry about anything pray about everything. Modern lettering. Perfect illustration for t-shirts, banners, flyers and other types of business design.

For the constant option for prayer, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – so often, we choose to focus on something that really isn’t very helpful. We find ourselves stuck and putting energy into what we can’t control. Help me turn my focus back to You. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Lessons from COVID-19: Navigating Change When the World Has Changed

Gratitude Day 483

Tues., July 7, 2020

Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Have you felt a little overwhelmed with all the stuff going on right now?

The last four months have ushered in SO. MUCH. CHANGE in our lives.

Change.

Some people love it.

Some people loathe it.

We’ve ALL been experiencing lots and lots of change lately. A lot of this change is out of our control. Navigating consistent change can be too much; especially when it feels like it happens almost daily.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WDACTP) has put together a podcast series that addresses recognizes how challenging all this change can be. Their podcast, Rural Realities, provides helpful information for all people, whether you live in a rural area or not.

I love it when I have the opportunity to partner with a group of people who are genuinely interested in helping other folks. When I was asked to be part of Rural Realities, I didn’t hesitate. If something I share would help one person, well, I wanted to be a part of this.

The Rural Realities podcast includes information about a variety of topics related to recent changes and agriculture. My podcast addresses how we can deal with all of these changes internally. I would love for you to listen along and let me know what you think! Please feel free to share the podcast with someone you know who might be struggling right now.

Here’s the link:https://datcp.buzzsprout.com/1160120?fbclid=IwAR3woZ8uvQdD47zayxoUcNMlC1T-lfJubyq63-iLq1Xrw9Xp9Je7IFDurlw

It is so easy to become overwhelmed with life these days. Let’s not try and go it alone. If you are feeling like everything is too much, please reach out to someone. We all have change limits. When we reach our limit, it’s best to say, “I need help.” I can’t fix anyone’s problems … but I will listen. And I pray we remember the One who will be strong and courageous with us when we’re feeling down, overwhelmed or out of our league.

For those who have listened to me when I felt overwhelmed, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – some days, things may feel OK. And then, another day, everything feels like it is just too much. Help us to know when we need help. Assistance. A listening ear. May we not go it alone but reach out. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Wanted: 90 Birthday Cards

Gratitude Day 482

Mon., July 6, 2020

Psalm 90:14 – Fill us full every morning with your faithful love so we can rejoice and celebrate our whole life long.

Can I ask for you folks to help me out? Please?

A few weeks back, I shared my Aunt Beverly’s story. She lives in an assisted living in Denver, CO. And she has been confined to her room since March 8th.

Almost four months. We’re nearing 120 days since Aunt Bev has been able to leave her room for anything other than an occasional pick-up of her mail.  

All of her meals are delivered to her room. Her son is able to drop off things at the front desk for her. But basically, Aunt Bev has been confined to her room for four months.

I CAN’T. EVEN. IMAGINE.

After I shared Aunt Beverly’s story, many of you replied back with me how much her story touched you. So now, I’m going to ask for a little help back in return.

All for Aunt Beverly.

You see, she turns 90 on July 17th. The past weekend, several cousins and family members were planning on celebrating with her in Denver. Of course, everything was canceled.

Her children are not overly optimistic that Aunt Bev will be able to do anything special to celebrate her birthday. They are coming up with some creative ideas to try and honor their mother. Yet, they are struggling with how to properly honor this vibrant woman who will most likely be stuck in her room as she becomes a nonagenarian.

So, can you PLEASE help me?

Recently, during our weekly visit/chat/devotion, Aunt Beverly shared with me that basically all of her friends have died. She misses having friends, even more so during this pandemic restriction time.  

That’s why I’m hoping that 90 of my friends will adopt Aunt Bev and make her their friend, if only to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Here’s my goal. I’m looking for 90 of my friends/acquaintances/people who follow Simple Words of Faith to send Aunt Beverly a birthday card.

That’s it. Just send a card. Nothing else. If you have a birthday card, great. If you don’t, send whatever card you have. Slap a 55-cent stamp on the envelope and send it on its way. Please try and have the card arrive by July 17th, which is the actual date of Aunt Beverly’s birthday. If it’s a day or two late, PLEASE send it anyways.

Can you PLEASE help me out?  

I’ve checked with her kids. They are completely on-board with throwing her a card shower. They are so excited for me to ask 90 people to send their mother 90 cards. Can we overflow her mailbox so much that the staff have to set-up a special box? Will we get enough people to send her a card that she will spend the ENTIRE day opening birthday cards? Are there at least 90 people who were moved by Aunt Beverly’s story enough that they will send her a card for her 90th birthday?

Let’s address the cards to Aunt Beverly and have the staff at her care facility wondering where all these family members have been that sent her a simple card for her birthday.

Can we help Beverly celebrate her whole life long in the next 11 days by receiving so much love from people who simply want to bless her special day? With a card?

PLEASE, can you help me out?

I’m counting on all of you. And I’m confident you won’t let me down.

Here’s her address:

Aunt Beverly Anderson

10200 E Harvard Ave Apt. 200

Denver, CO  80231-3946

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. I can’t WAIT to see how many cards Aunt Beverly receives.

For help in celebrating a special woman’s birthday, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – For even the most vibrant of people, being confined to a room for four months is wearing. I pray that You will help keep Aunt Beverly’s spirits up, as well as be brightened by an overabundance of birthday cards. I pray that together, we can make her life and birthday so incredibly special. Amen.

If you know someone else who LOVES to send cards or would like to help celebrate Aunt Beverly’s birthday, please share this blog post with them.

What I Learned in June

Gratitude Day 481

Tues., June 30, 2020

Psalm 18:19 – He brought me out to wide-open spaces; he pulled me out safe because he is pleased with me.

In just a few days, we will have reached the unofficial half-way point of summer: 4th of July. Yes, the summer has been different. Yet, I pray that you are finding special ways to fill your heart and soul this summer. I have been! Here’s a few ways.

This book. Years ago, a friend shared this book with me. And it sat on a shelf until this past week. While it says that it is a book about photography, DO NOT let the cover fool you. Yes, it talks some about photography. Honestly, this small 80-page book is chuck full of life lessons. Seriously. These little lessons are ones that we’ve heard before. Maybe I just needed to hear them again. And again. Here are a few examples:

Search for and discover your identity. The better you understand yourself, the better you can make art.

Your personality is the one feature that you own. Use it. Copy it. No one can copy you. Your personality should become or reflect your style.

Most people waste time. Sometimes it looks like they think they will live forever. Any day, any hour wasted is lost forever. You can never get it back. The long you wait, the less you can achieve.

There is always a “Next Step.”

I know photography books aren’t for everyone. But this is so much more than photography. SUCH. GOOD. WISDOM.

Share Your Heart. I always feel a little awkward sharing things that help praise on me. So, I hope you’ll see the true point in me sharing. In the last month, I’ve received two very nice, very sincere comments about my book, The Mary Experiment. The first came from a teenager. She sent me a letter and shared how this book changed her life. To put this into perspective, I’m not sure a lot of teenagers write letters these days. This already says this young gal is exceptional. Secondly, that she took the time to write exactly how she feels she was influenced by someone else. A teenager. It’s easy for us to lump teens into a category in which many spend the majority of themselves focusing on themselves. Lauren is one of those girls who looks beyond herself and is such a giver.

The second person who shared with me how the book has impacted her was basically on the other end of the spectrum from Lauren. Connie celebrated her 85th birthday a few weeks ago. She’s basically 70 years older than Lauren. One day, she picked up the phone and called me. We chatted about a few other things and then, she shared her experiences of reading The Mary Experiment. Again, I was blown away. Now, in reality, one might have expected the letter from Connie and a text from Lauren. But neither happened this way. What did these two situations say to me? When something important is on your heart, please take the time to share this information with the person who will benefit in knowing how you feel. That Lauren and Connie went out of their way to convey back to me something so personal is HUGE. BIG. NOTEWORTHY. And it has made an impact on my life.

Imagine how two people, taking time to share their hearts, made a difference. We must ALWAYS make time to share our heart with the person who we feel has made an impact. It is so easy to be busy, not take time and think they already know. Whether they do or not, take the time to personally share the message.

Sabbath time. Hubby Rick and I have been committed to taking Sabbath time while he is on sabbatical. Yes, he’s doing things that feed him. Together, we’re making sure we take extra time to enjoy life together. Over the weekend, we took about 36 hours of Sabbath with friends. It was WONDERFUL. Time away, if only for a short time, can feed the soul. Enjoy small things. Celebrate little wins. It’s OK to change it up and do things differently this summer.

For finding space this summer, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Even in these strange and different times, there is SO. MUCH. OPPORTUNITY for us to grow. Change. Find space. Help us embrace these opportunities and not be afraid. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Saturday Thoughts

Gratitude Day 480

Sat., June 27, 2020

Proverbs 24:3 – By wisdom, a house is built; by understanding it is established.

We’ve been eating lettuce out of our garden for over a week now. And it’s WONDERFUL! Hubby Rick picked this lettuce before it rained yesterday. Believe me … it’s yummy!

Fresh lettuce and fresh fish … that was dinner Friday night at the Vielhubers! While Rick has been on his Sabbatical, he’s gone fishing a few times. This was part of his haul from Friday afternoon. In full disclosure, I know the photo isn’t great. Why? Rick took the photo. On his flip phone. I was running an errand when I received this text with the photo: Fri. Nite fish? No wasted characters on Rick’s flip phone. (Side note – Phones are almost a nuisance for Rick. His stayed behind when he went fishing. I only know because I heard it ringing while he was gone.)

If you are looking for something new to watch, try Belgravia. This is created by Julian Fellows, who also was involved in Downtown Abby. Belgravia is also set in England. It begins in 1815 and jumps to 1840 in the middle of the first episode. Personally, I don’t find Belgravia quite as riveting as Downton Abby. But for someone who finds the upstairs/downstairs and English hierarchy interesting, Belgravia does include this as part of the storyline. Belgravia is distributed by Epix. If you are an Amazon Prime member, the first two episodes are free. Then, you can sign-up for a 7-day trial period of Epix, which I did, and am making my way through the rest of the available episodes. I have discovered that sometimes, I like to have something in the background when I’m working on something that is not in a room with a television. This show fits this bill.

These scripture cards. I’m not one to promote something that requires people to buy. But this time, I’m breaking my own rule. I have followed Emily Lex for quite a while. She used to blog regularly but has transitioned into doing other things. During 2019, she painted a little miniature painting EVERY. DAY. OF. THE. YEAR. Yup, 365 of them. She posted her little paintings on Instagram daily. She’s not doing the same this year. But people loved her little paintings. She has turned some of them into scripture cards. The paintings have a scripture verse with them on little cards. And she’s selling them. Many of her followers have requested being able to purchase her cards. This is one way she is making them available. I’m anxious to receive a set. Just take a look at the cards. They are pretty and fun to look at.

There truly is no place like home. A couple weeks ago, our 89-year-old neighbor, Kathleen, shared with me two notecards that she had ran across. The outside of the notecards is a pencil sketch someone made of our current house. The house was sketched at a time when there were more trees around the house. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to frame one of the notecards and keep as a remembrance of this old house. The photos do not do justice of the notecard and frame. I took them at the wrong time of the day. Yet, I think this little card shows how our house has changed over the years. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Kathleen and her family lived in this house. At the time, it was set-up as two apartments with one upstairs and the other downstairs. Since we have lived here, we have converted it fully back to a single-family dwelling.

I love this house. There are parts of this house that remind me of the house on the farm where I grew up. It has a front and a back staircase, just like that house. The front staircase is a beautiful open staircase, much like the one I grew up with. Hardwood floors, wood siding, a peaked attic: these are all reminiscent of the house from my childhood. During the last few months when we’ve all spent so much time at home, I’ve loved this house even more.

I know it’s silly to place so much happiness in a house. I know it’s far more important to treasure things outside of this world than those here and now. Yet, truly, I do believe this is more than a house; it’s a home. Our home. Where Rick and I have created lots of memories. Yes, we’ve tried to restore it and make it feel loved once again. Whenever someone walks into our house (which, of course there has been very little of lately), we want them to feel welcomed. Loved. Like they have just been wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter night.

Kathleen could have kept the notecards for herself. She also lived in this house. With her family. Yet, it’s such a small but meaningful gesture to have this framed notecard that I can take with me when we move out of this home someday. We have no plans to move right now. But when we do? I’ll leave the second card behind for the next family with hopes that they will make this house a home as well.

For the feeling of when your house is a home, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – Who knew when we moved into this house nearly five years ago how much we would come to love our little place. Thank you for making this house available to us at that time. More importantly, thank you for inspiring us to make this our home. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Wednesday Prayer Day

Gratitude Day 479

Wed., June 24, 2020

2 Timothy 1:3 – I’m grateful to God, whom I serve with a good conscience as my ancestors did. I constantly remember you in my prayers day and night.

We’ve prayed for a couple extremely specific things for YEARS.

Literally, YEARS.

It’s personal. It’s important. It’s at the top of our prayer list.

Hubby Rick and I feel so committed to these situations that they have been at the top of our prayer list for YEARS.

Every once in a while, we see a glimmer of hope. We’re cautiously optimistic. We wonder if this is the time our prayers will be answered.

Before long, we feel like we’re back where we started. Once again, praying fervently for the situations to change.

And there continues to be long-term, impactful change.

Do we give up?

Nope.

Do we wonder if our prayers are being answered?

We are completely confident they ARE being heard.

Do we start looking for an alternative to prayer and question if another route would be more productive?

Absolutely not.

Prayer is not a spring. It’s a marathon. Prayer isn’t the quick fix. It’s happens at a turtle’s pace with lots of pauses, breaks and backsliding along the way.

Do we question if God has given up on the situation?

Not on our radar screen.

Do we voice if God has stopped listening to us because we’ve prayed this SO MUCH?

No way.

Our only job is to continue to pray and pray. And pray some more.

Prayer is kind of like this. Last evening, I went for a run. It had rained a little earlier. While the temperature had cooled it, there was a heaviness to the air. Part way through the run, my glasses were steamed up. I know the route every well. It’s one I’ve ran hundreds of times. But seeing the actual road was hazy at best.

So, I took off my glasses. While the hazy was gone, everything remained blurry. It was easy to see the road but difficult to decipher any details.

Unanswered prayer is similar. In the middle of continuous prayer, the situation feels hazy. Blurry. Impossible to see what is on the road ahead. Yet a path remains before us. Maybe just how the situation will be resolved is hazy. Whether our preferred outcome will happen is blurry. But we still keep plugging along, committed to lifting the situations up over and over and over.

There’s a story about a woman who developed a relationship with God as an adult. Growing up, she wasn’t exposed to church or God. She went with her friends once in a while. But understanding prayer happened later in this woman’s life. When she discovered prayer’s power, she began to pray for her Mom. She just wanted to Mom to discover a peace in her life that she lacked for years.

The daughter prayed for her Mother for 40 years. Every day. Over and over. Towards the end of the Mother’s life, the daughter pleaded with her Mom to allow her heart to be softened by God. The day came when the Mom realized that she genuinely wanted the peace of passes all understanding.

What would have happened if the daughter quit praying after 39 years? 25 years? 10 years? I’m not sure. What I do know is that I admire this daughter for praying constantly. Every day. Over and Over.

I’m guessing she had more than a few days when everything looked blurry. Hazy. Fogged over. Yet, this woman remained committed to praying for her Mom.

I pray that Hubby Rick and I will remain half as committed to our prayer situations as this woman did to hers.

What is something that you’ve been praying for what seems like a long time? An awfully long time? I’d love to hear so I can make your request part of my prayer time.

For prayer warriors who ever seem to give up, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Often, we question the speed by which you answer prayer. Or whether you are connected to our situation. Assure us that you hear our prayers, even if the answer is quite different from what we would like. Encourage us to keep our prayer lives committed to You. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Embrace the Year That Looks a Bit Scary

Gratitude Day 478

Mon., June 22, 2020

Hebrews 10:31 – It’s scary to fall into the hands of the living God!

For many people, change is scary.

Difficult.

Daunting.

Intimidating.

We love comfortable. We yearn for predictable. So, when things like a pandemic, awareness of persistent inequality, ridiculous quick unemployment, a sluggish economy, and an unknown future stare us in the face, life feels unmanageable. Scary. Overwhelming.

As people begin and continue to post comments and pictures wishing 2020 was over, my heart gets sad. Every day IS a gift from God. I wish we would treat them as carefully as other valued gifts rather than wishing them away …

So, let’s think about the remainder of 2020 from a slightly different perspective:

  • Let’s see these challenging days as opportunities to discover something new about ourselves. Others. The world.
  • May we welcome the unlimited opportunity to grow and welcome the new branches that lead us into areas we could not previously imagine.
  • Let’s embrace change as a gift … and not a four-letter word. Maybe, just maybe, we’ve been too complacent for far too long.
  • Can we wrap our heads and hands around the possibilities that are sitting right there in front of us? Just waiting for us to see them.
  • May we finally listen to the clanging sound that has been trying to open our hearts for far too long to something we’ve never even considered.

Most importantly, may the unsureness of each day force us seek God and know that God yearns for us to listen. And may we have enough good sense to finally stop and listen.

The year 2020 is FAR from being over. No, it’s just beginning. Let’s embrace and celebrate each day and know this may be a pivotable year for so many.

For optimism in days ahead, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – Sometimes, we so casually wish a day or a week or a timeframe away. Instead, help us to celebrate each day. May we embrace the new things You’ve led us to and turned our scaredness into trust in You. Amen.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

It’s Saturday Morning!!

Gratitude Day 477

Sat., June 19, 2020

Hebrews 4:9 – So you see that a sabbath rest is left open for God’s people.

As we begin the weekend, just a few thoughts from my desk this morning.

Hubby Rick is on a four-week Sabbatical!! For the last 20 years, Rick has worked for a Wisconsin-based company called Kwik Trip. They have a company policy when an employee has worked for the company for 20 years, the employee is eligible for a four-week Sabbatical. Rick’s 20th anniversary was May 20th. He had been debating when to take his Sabbatical for a while. Recently, he decided to take it mid-June through mid-July. So, last Sunday was the official beginning of his Sabbatical.

This is very generous of his company to do this. Management sees a time for renewal as important. So far, Rick has been very committed to helping his son with a basement remodeling job and has put in lots of time with this project.

Originally, we had anticipated spending some of Rick’s Sabbatical in Italy. Obviously, this will not be happening right now. Someday, we will get to Italy. Just not right now.

An Amish buggy at a Kwik Trip store. Just a little humor for today!

He hopes to get in some fishing, kayaking, biking, etc. I look forward to a few day trips with Rick.

Have you watched the Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man videos? If not, please take the time. Ex-NFL player Emmanuel Acho released an initial video in early June. He sits down to have an “uncomfortable conversation” with white American and shares his views on racism, system racism, social injustice, rioting and the hurt blacks are feeling today. Here’s a link to the original video:

The next video included a conversation with Matthew McConaughey, a very thoughtful conversation. Here’s the link for this video:

Just this week, the third video included Emmanuel having a conversation with Chip and Joanna Gaines and their five children. There are times when the conversation is a bit uncomfortable, which makes the videos even more real. Check out this conversation here:

Here is a person who is trying to help those of us who do not fully understand racism today. Here’s an opportunity for us to discover more.

Looking for a novel to read this summer? Here’s one that is set in 1932 and the Great Depression.

This Tender Land, written by William Kent Krueger, is set in Minnesota. It tells the story of two orphaned brothers who end up at a Native American teaching school. With two other orphans, they travel the Mississippi looking for a place to call their own. I listened to this on books on tape and enjoyed the story.

Missing baseball this summer? Hop on Facebook and watch worship this Sunday with Midland UMC at 9:30 AM. I’m filling in for Pastor John whose wife, Julie, had some health issues this week. Full disclosure: it was taped Friday night. On my porch. You will hear some background noise because, well, we didn’t do a studio taping but used what we had! My friend Mindy joined in with some music. There’s nothing fancy about this worship service. Amateur might be a good description. BUT it might give your baseball craving a little fulfillment! I’ll share the video on my personal Facebook page as well on Sunday. Here’s Midland’s page: https://www.facebook.com/midland.umc

Let’s make room for Sabbath this summer. I know it feels like almost everything has been cancelled this summer. BUT Summer 2020 HAS NOT been cancelled. Just as Rick is on his Sabbatical for the next few weeks, we have this wonderful opportunity find Sabbath in our lives. See those open boxes on your calendar? Keep some of them open and write the word “Sabbath” in them. Then, promise and commit to yourself to make room for Sabbath. What does Sabbath look like? It’s doing the things (or not doing the things) that will refresh your heart and soul. Bring some peace back into your life. Fill up your empty gas tank and prepare you for the next season of your life.

I am aware that some of the things that have been canceled maybe those things that fill you. So, be creative. Find other ways to fill your heart and soul this summer. I’m really trying to be thoughtful about this right now. I pray that you will be as well. We can make Summer 2020 a fantastic summer … if we CHOOSE to!

Have a great weekend. Celebrate Father’s Day with the special guys in your life. Enjoy finding Sabbath time this summer.

For many different things that feed my heart and soul, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Encourage me today, this weekend, this summer to NOT FILL every waking moment with activity. Busyness. Yes, we may be disappointed that some things aren’t happening this summer. I pray that we see this as a wonderful season to fill our hearts and souls with Sabbath. Rest. Renewal. In You. Amen.

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