Gratitude Day 146 – What I Learned in October

Wed., Oct. 31, 2018

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.

It is so easy to blow through life, not reflecting below a surface level of what is really happening in life. At the end of September, I shared a few lessons I learned (or re-learned) during September, which you can read here.

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As October winds down, I pause and reflect upon another season changing: a season outside my window as well as within my life. Here’s what I’ve discovered this past month.

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  • Get to know your extended family. I have never lived very close to my cousins, aunts or uncles. I didn’t grow up with those huge extended family gatherings for every holiday. For a few years, one family lived about two hours from our farm. This was the closest we ever had extended family live near my immediate family, other than when my Grandmothers lived in the same town as my parents at the end of their lives. Shortly after college, I lived near an aunt and uncle for several months, which was also a great blessing. The moral of the story? I have only known my cousins at arms-length my entire life. In October, Hubby Rick and I hosted several cousins and some of our family to a weekend at our house. IT. WAS. GREAT. So often, we speak of doing something like this … but it often doesn’t happen. We had very little planned for the weekend, but everyone had a great time. I wished we would have done something like this years ago. Yet, I am optimistic it won’t be another 15 years before we try to hang out together again. It’s true: we don’t get to choose our family. What we do choose is how we interact with our family. Thanks, Sowers cousins, for making our get-together my highlight of October.

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  • There is nothing like a deadline to get things done. In preparation for our cousin’s weekend, Rick and I were dedicated to getting some projects at our house closer to completion. There is nothing like a deadline to spur some action! We are in the process of creating a master suite in the upstairs of our house. Rick built a walk-in closet and we reconfigured the master suite to now include a hallway. Once the wood floors are refinished (sometime in November) and we configure storage in the walk-in closet, these rooms will be completed! Winter projects will be completing ghe master bathroom and a washer and dryer closet upstairs. With family help, a new washer and dryer are now upstairs, closer to the closet. The downstairs bedroom has been “sorting central” for months, as I have worked my way through about 30 boxes and totes of things from my Mom and family. I had boxes and totes waiting for family members to go through during our cousin’s weekend … and lots left our house!

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Sometimes, I am my mother’s daughter. Before a confirmation or graduation celebration, my Mom would often embark on a “big” house project. I tend to follow this pattern. With Rick’s help, we got the projects as far along as we could before family arrived. Even though the projects are mid-stream, it feels good to have chunks completed. P.S. – I promise to show pictures once the floors are completed. If you are sick of hearing about our remodeling projects, sorry … it’s the “season” we are in.

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  • A $2.21 purchase. In the last months, I have rid our house of so much: donated loads to charity, filled the garbage can regularly and sent and given boxes of trinkets, treasures and photos to family. As I currently sort through my own “treasures,” I carefully choose what to keep and what to get rid of. I have sworn off bringing more into the house. Yet, I yearn for something fun to add to my fall wardrobe. With cooler weather, my standard “uniform” is a long-sleeved shirt underneath some type of sweater anchored by jeans and comfortable shoes. My closet is shrouded with tons of grey, black and neutral colors. Years ago, I wore a brighter colored outfit to church one Sunday. A lovely lady named Mary said to me, “It’s about time you wear something other than neutral colors.”

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Neutrals are my go-to colors. Is it any surprise my house is filled with various shades of gray, black and white?

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Rick insists nothing can come into this house unless something leaves, which I am trying faithfully to follow, including my wardrobe. I’ve resigned to recycle what I have for another “season.” Except my this $2.21 find.

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One day, I found this $5 necklace. I decided it was a steal. What I didn’t notice is that it was 60% off, which became $2.21, tax included. While a few new actual clothing pieces would be fun, this necklace is my new fall transition piece. The lesson? Sometimes little things do make a difference; especially when they cost $2.21.

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As you dump candy into a bowl or wait for the doorbell to announce a trick-or-treater tonight, pause and think of a lesson you’ve discovered this October. For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. What have you discovered or re-learned in this last season?

For the opportunity to learn daily, I am thankful.

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Holy God – thanks for never looking at us and thinking, “This person is too old to learn.” Guided by your Spirit, may we find opportunities to discover new seasons in our lives regularly. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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godGratitude Day 145 – Who

Tues., Oct. 30, 2018

John 15:12 – (Jesus said,) “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you.”

It’s been a tough several days in the United States. So much hurt, disappointment and acts that don’t make sense. It’s difficult to image this country where everyone yearns to live and yet, people are killed while worshipping God. Each day seems to bring forth another tragedy for yet another community and a whole series of families.

It would be so easy to give up on faith, religion and God. But I am not.

Here’s why.

It is so easy to assume God “decides” that awful things should happen to people. I have a different viewpoint. Evil exists in this world. Sometimes, it runs full-throttle. Blaming God for every awful thing in this world is not helpful. Evil chooses to regularly rear its ugly head. Rather than naming evil as the culprit of everything bad in this world, it’s so much easier to blame God. In this sense, God truly gets a bad rap.

We spend so much energy and effort focusing on “Why bad things happen to good people” that we overlook the “Who will help us get through this awful time in our lives?” For me, that who is God. God promises to never leave me or never leave you. Even in the midst of difficult and challenging days.

The challenge for some people? Truly believing that God is the “Who” that can hold their hand through dark days. We often choose to focus on the “Why” to the point that we completely miss the “Who.”

I pray you don’t give up on God. I pray you look beyond today’s pain and disappointment and know God will be with you today, tomorrow and the next day. Even when God seems far away, God is right there, just waiting for you to say “Hey God, it’s me. Just checking in with you.” It really doesn’t get any more complicated than this. We often become disappointed when our prayers aren’t answered just as we wish. This doesn’t mean God has given up on you. It just means there’s potentially a different plan.

 

For a God who longs to be the “who” that journeys with you daily, I am grateful.

 

Dear God: thank you for loving me more than I can imagine. May your example of love spur us to deeply love you and others.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 144 – Mission Work

Mon., Oct. 29, 2018 

3 John 1:6 – They have told the church about your love. They say you were good enough to welcome them and to send them on their mission in a way that God’s servants deserve.

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I have a quick little exercise for you to perform. Willing to try? It will only take a minute.

Good. Here are the instructions.

Either grab a map or think of the geographical area where you live. Think of a community 30 miles to the east of where you live. Now, 30 miles west. How about 30 miles north as well as 30 miles south?

Draw an imaginary, or real if using a map, circle connecting those communities. Look at all the of the communities, towns and people who live in this area. Can you think of a family who might have a need? Is this need something you can help with?

When I was in seminary, I remember a professor teaching about mission work. He understood the need for people to go significant distances or live in a different area for awhile to do mission work. Yet, he was a proponent of doing things locally as well. He defined “mission” work this way: anything at least 30 miles from your house. His explanation of “mission” work in this context made such an impression on me that I shared this with Hubby Rick.

Throughout our marriage, Rick and I have been involved in a wide variety of “mission” work. We have traveled long distances with other people. We have chaperoned youth mission trips, so youth can develop an appreciation for what they have and foster a sense of helping others. And yes, we have participated in many 30-mileish “mission” trips.

Recently, Rick and I prioritized a day-long “mission” project. It was about 45 miles from home. So, according to my seminary professor, it qualified as “mission” work. Actually, we traveled to Rick’s son’s house and helped him with specific projects. Rick worked on installing a window in the basement. I worked on a huge project in the basement. Rick’s son asked if Rick could do the window. We decided it would be a good project to do together, knowing there were opportunities for me to serve as well.

We appreciate long-distance mission trips. Yet, we also value and prioritize local “mission” projects. Sometimes, it seems silly to travel two days on a bus when there are lots of local opportunities to serve. Our local “mission” projects have covered the gamut. Sometimes, it’s a repair or construction project. Cutting wood, doing yardwork or helping in a garden. Sometimes it’s cleaning, sorting and organizing. Maybe it’s taking food and simply listening.

This time, we were asked to do this “mission” project. Often, we are asked. Other times, we volunteer. We accept these projects because we can serve God, our neighbors and model our faith. These projects aren’t glamorous. f our time and abilities can serve another member of God’s kingdom, it’s a win for them and us.

Think again of the geographic area in the 60-mile radius from where you live. Is there someone that could be a “mission” project? How could you serve them? Are they willing to accept help? When are you be able to set aside time and carry out your “mission” project?

The 30-mile distance from your home isn’t magical or necessary. Rick and I have experienced lots of “mission” project opportunities much less than 30 miles. Does a shorter distance disqualify them as “mission” projects? Absolutely not. “Mission” work has less to do with distance and more about a person’s willingness to serve someone else and God in tandem.

We can get so caught up in our own “projects” that we fail to see beyond our needs and observe someone else’s needs. Every time we perform a “mission” project, I discover someone about myself or learn something new. I see these as clear opportunities for God to mold and shape me. I am always richer for the experience.

Rick and I appreciate doing these projects together when we can. “Mission” projects are great family activities. Everyone can serve your neighbor and God together while create lasting family memories.

We put in a long day on our “mission” project at Rick’s son. When we arrived home, we were tired and dirty. Yet, we had a sense of accomplishment. Rick’s son appreciated our work and the jobs accomplished.

There are great benefits in going away on a mission trip. Yet, there are also opportunities to help someone closer to home. When Rick and I enter these opportunities with the attitude that we are doing “mission” work, it changes our approach. Yes, we do our very best. But we are also aware that a “mission” attitude removes the project’s work from what we are doing to how we are serving God.

I pray you will discover a “mission” project soon within your community.

For opportunities to serve God through “mission’ projects, I am grateful.

Almighty God – thank you for the people who have serve us on a “mission” project. I pray you will bring forth another mission opportunity for us to serve soon. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 143 – Hand-crafted

Sat., Oct. 27, 2018 

Mark 6:3 – Isn’t he the carpenter, the son of Mary? Aren’t James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon his brothers? 

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Please say, “Hello” to the newest piece of furniture in the Vielhuber household. This gorgeous grey table.

Would you like to hear a little bit of the table’s story?

Good. Here it is.

After we began arranging furniture in our 110-year-old Victorian Farmhouse, I couldn’t find the right rhythm for the front parlor. Initially, I tried putting the piano in there. After four failed positions with the piano and four guys huffing and puffing from moving said piano, it was moved into the dining room. Hubby Rick proclaimed, “It ain’t being moved again … ever.” Someday we may not live in this house and it will find its way out the door, but that’s another post for another day.

Arrangement two in the parlor had furniture tucked in each corner. I am not an interior designer, but I knew this arrangement wasn’t user-friendly. How can you have a conversation when each person is across the room? At a neighborhood gathering, our retired neighborhood ladies gently moved the furniture into spots where they could converse. Clearly, they didn’t want to shout across the room to each other. I got the hint. I knew it was time for a new arrangement.

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Arrangement three is pictured here. Actually, this is arrangement four because I used to have a different chair in the parlor. This chair was desperately needed in the master bedroom where we are nearing a complete room overall. So, the tall, straight back chair came down from the attic and found a new home. This chair was my Mom’s. It is missing a spindle. But doesn’t this give it character?

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After I had the seating arranged this way, something was missing. Who can ever sit here and have a cup of coffee unless there is a table in the center? Shopping my house, the best solution I could find was this old crate. Actually, I think it’s a cool crate. See the old stamping on the side.

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The crate worked for a few months, but I knew that I wanted something a little more formal for the official “parlor” of our house.

trayEnter nephew Ben. Ben works best with his hands. He inherited a couple saws that were my Grandpa Deaton’s, which he used to build things. I have one item my Grandpa Deaton built: this tray. He built it for my Grandma. They had a screened-in back porch and often ate here. She used this tray to take meals to the porch. I, too, have a screened-in porch. I, too, use this tray to take meals to the porch.

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And so, Ben began to build. Furniture. He has built a variety of items: desks, tables, end tables, etc. He has built several items for my sister Debbie. I too, wanted a hand-crafted item from Ben. Wanting a round table in this space, I found a table similar to what I wanted, sent a picture to Ben with a few instructions about dimensions and color and waited.

This past weekend when we had a cousin get-together at our house, my table arrived. I love it. The grey color fits in with the rest of my house. The dimensions are just what I anticipated.

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What do you think? How do you think the table fits into the parlor?

I’m super proud of Ben and his passion for making furniture. He’s been inspired by my Grandpa and his Great-Grandpa to develop this trade. For his day job, he pours concrete. Many of Ben’s furniture pieces combine wood and concrete, which makes his work unique from other furniture makers.

While sitting in the parlor recently and admiring this table, and my mind drifted. We know very little about Jesus’ dad, Joseph. We do know he was a carpenter. For some reason, I’ve always felt he was more of a furniture builder than a house builder. I envision Joseph teaching Jesus how to make things with his hands, using the simple tools of his day. One reason I feel Jesus was so approachable and common is because he grew up in a home where he was encouraged to develop a trade and use his hands.

My trade is not the same as Ben’s trade. I use my hands in a different way, most often on a keyboard. But our inspiration is the same. Last weekend, Ben and I shared how we will work and work at something to make it perfect. Ben could easily point out the errors in his work, rather than letting me appreciate the great details he puts into his pieces. For example, he has these little plugs on the bottom of each leg of the table. Knowing that we live in an old house that does not have even floors, we can simply sand the plugs to level out the table. How cool is that?

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A bit of a perfectionist myself, I reminded Ben … and reminded myself … that being perfect isn’t what is important. If we only accept ourselves if we were “perfect,” then we mistake ourselves for being divine. I believe only God and God’s son, Jesus, can truly be divine. My spot is not in the divine chair but the chair in which God can use me as a tool within God’s kingdom. This means I’m not going to be perfect. And thank goodness God accepts me this way!

Can I accept my non-perfect nature? Wow, some days this is hard. Rather than being perfect, maybe I just need to see myself as hand-made by God. Unique, special, imperfect but perfectly perfect in the eyes of the one who loves me. (My perfectionist side wasn’t sure I should post these pictures with the make-shift rug I have under the table … but the table is to beautiful to keep silent while I try to figure a rug out!)

Just like the little table Ben made me. It maybe imperfect to the person who made it. But to me? It’s a perfect addition to our parlor. It will be a hand-crafted item I will treasure deeply, just as God treasures each of us deeply.

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My favorite part of the table? I didn’t discover this until we moved the table, so we could take some photos … Ben’s signature on the flipside of the table. I’ll always know who made this table for me. I’ll always know it was made with love and care just for Rick and I and our home.

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For a perfectly imperfect handmade table, I am grateful.

Dear God – thank you for handcrafting each one of us. For making us unique, different and special. And loving us even when we aren’t perfect and make mistakes. Help us to allow our imperfections to help us grow in grace daily. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 141 – Teamwork

Wed., Oct. 24, 2018

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble.

They were the Cinderella team that just didn’t quite make it.Brewers #1

When the World Series begins tonight, we, in Wisconsin, will be a little sad. We were so hopeful this would be the year the Brewers would finally make it back to the World Series. It didn’t happen. They lost the National Championship in game 7.

The last time the Brew Crew was in the World Series? Almost a lifetime ago in 1982. Die-hard Brewers fans remember Harvey’s Wallbangers: Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Jimmie Gantner and others. Who can forget pitcher Rollie Finger’s infamous handlebar mustache?

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This year, Wisconsin fans have been rooting for the Brewers like crazy. They were not the first pick to make it to the World Series. They are too small of a market, don’t have a big enough payroll and aren’t a long-standing powerhouse team. The team is known for their famous race between various locally produced sausages between innings than their post-season playoff record. Or Bernie the Brewer’s really cool slide he takes a trip down when the home team scores a homerun.

As much as they wanted to prove to the rest of the baseball world they were good enough to make a deep run, it just didn’t quite happen.

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The team is coached by a former Brewer, Craig Counsell, who grew up going to Brewers games with his Dad. Counsell used some unorthodox strategy all year, which became more interesting during the playoffs. Every game was unpredictable. Counsell stuck with his game plan, even when others thought this strategy was crazy.

Hubby Rick has been a Brewers fan for years. I mean years. I don’t have to watch the games. I often get a play-by-play of the previous night’s game at 4 or 5 AM when he gets home from work. Is it really important to know how many innings Josh Hader pitched or how many times Christian Yelich got on base as the horizon dawns into a new day? Rick thought this was important pillow talk as he wound down after his night shift. As it became possible for the Brewers to win their division coming into October, dinners were ate around the coffee table with the game on TV. If I wanted quality time with my hubby, it meant sitting with him while he anticipated who would be brought up from the bullpen.

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Why was this Brewer team different from the last 35 teams? I’m no baseball expert, but in my uneducated observations, these guys love to play baseball. In the movie “The Rookie,” Dennis Quaid plays a high school science teacher/varsity baseball coach. Quaid’s character, Jim Morris upholds a promise made to his team and tries out for the pros. Now on the farm team, the team drives from game to game on a bus. Morris is surrounded with guys about half his age. When the team bemoans another game in a no-name town, Quaid reminds them with a huge smile on his face, “We get to play baseball.”

This Brewers group has kept this same excitement connected to their love of the game. They were fun to watch, whether you are a Brewers fan or not.

Another reason for success: teamwork. Every professional sports team preachs teamwork. Some have it. Some wished they had it. This team was committed to Coach Counsell’s strategy and game plan. They lived out Counsell’s mantra to “stay connected.” Day in and out, these guys understood that they each had a role to play. And they played it. If a guy wasn’t hitting well, he was sent to the farm team to get his swing worked out. Sometimes, a pitcher was brought in to pitch only to one batter. Most would say this strategy was crazy. The pitchers seemingly accepted their roles and didn’t want to let the team down. There was a different vibe in the locker room.

I pray these guys have “stayed connected” this week. Disappointed, but guys who want to be friends off the field. Ready to pick each other up and carry them along while so many question Councell’s strategy.

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Faith communities have plenty to learn from the Brewers. “Staying connected” is an important and long-term viable necessity for churches and denominations. Doing things for the love of God is a long-term requirement as well. Too often, we focus on other things than focusing on these two simple yet profound core values.

Rick is having to find some new pillow talk topics for when he gets home at 5 AM. Yet, I know he and many others will be talking about the Brewers until spring training starts next spring.

For the example of team work and love of the game, I am grateful.

Almighty God – I pray we can see places outside of the church that inspire us inside the church. May we, as faith community members, also be great encouragements for families, groups and individuals. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 140 – Family

Tues., Oct. 23, 2018

Deuteronomy 26:11 – Then celebrate all the good things the Lord your God has done for you and your family—each one of you along with the Levites and the immigrants who are among you.

The house is now so quiet. So very quiet.

No conversations in multiple rooms. No action in the kitchen. No game going on around the dining room table.

Just me and my thoughts after a few days of every inch of our 3,000 square foot house being well occupied and used.

Over the weekend, several first cousins from my Mom’s side of the family, as well as members of my immediate family, gathered at our house for a little reunion. The last time this many of my first cousins were together was 15 years ago at my Grandma Sower’s funeral.

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My Mom had one sister six years older and a brother 11 years younger. My parents grew up in Iowa. They moved to Wisconsin after being married. I have basically lived my life in Wisconsin. My siblings and I did not grow up with our cousins nearby. All of my cousins lived in other states. While we “knew” each other, we haven’t really “known” each other.

Not all of our Sowers cousins were able to be together this weekend. When we started planning this get together, I was clear. Whoever could make it, great! If you couldn’t make it, this was OK as well. Life happens. One cousin who planned on being in Wisconsin ended up moving our remaining aunt multiple states this same weekend. We understood this was priority.

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Over the course of the weekend, we had a different mix of people at various times. We ate, visited, played games, shared stories from our past and present, had loud card games, went through pictures and items my Mom had saved, and truly enjoyed just being together. Here are a few things I discovered about my cousin family this weekend:

  • There are over 40 years between my eldest Sowers cousin and my youngest Sowers cousins. What we know, remember and our observations of our Grandparents is quite different. Some of these cousins never knew my Grandpa Sowers. We all knew my Grandma Sowers because she lived into her 90’s.
  • Growing up as members of different generations and in different locations around the U.S. has colored our worlds. Yet, we have this connecting factor of family blood. We ARE family.
  • It’s OK for us to have different memories, experiences and connections with our family heritage. There isn’t a “right” way or memory. For example, we had alvelskiers for dinner one night; a traditional Danish food that is a crossover between a pancake and a donut. It was interesting to hear what different branches of our family tree ate with alvelskiers.
  • Having time together outside of a funeral and over a couple days allowed for conversations to grow between people. We discovered that we “like” being together and sharing our lives with each other.
  • Wisconsin October weather is unpredictable. Our cousins saw rain, snow, sleet, wind and sunshine all in a few hours on Saturday. Some family members took in the University of Wisconsin-Madison football game, with one cousin experiencing a true Wisconsin Big 10 football game.

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When people are asked what is most important to them, the word “family” always rises to the top. How “family” is defined varies greatly. There is no one recipe for how families interact and spend time together. For us, simply hanging out and going through Grandma Sower’s jewelry box became a great opportunity to share stories, our lives and our common heritage.

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Like many such gatherings, there were conversations about how and when we might get together again. I pray these plans evolve and develop. Today, I am so grateful several family members put their lives on hold if only for a few hours, traveled to our little piece of the world sometime over the weekend and spent time together as Sowers cousins. It truly was a great weekend.

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For family cousins and the ability to spend time together, I am grateful.

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Lord God – thank you for family, time together and shared history. I pray families choose to focus on the things that draw them together rather than the disappointment that can pull families apart. Thank you for your Holy Spirit which is the glue that holds families together. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 139 – Renewed

Fri., Oct. 19, 2018

Lamentations 3:23 – They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.

Ever feel a little tired and run down? Like you need to be renewed? Maybe your soul is being steered in the wrong direction?

We have been remodeling a chunk of the upstairs of our 110-year-old Victorian farmhouse.  There is nothing like a deadline to push you towards getting things accomplished! We have company arriving today. While the entire remodeling isn’t completed, Hubby Rick and I have made significant progress the last few weeks.

We are taking the middle section of our upstairs and remaking it into a master bedroom with a walk-in closet and master bathroom. We also made room for a second closet to house a washer and dryer. To make this all work, we’ve created a hallway which allows for the various components to branch off of.

On the east side of all this area is a storage area which someday, we will also remodel. This spot is really like a bonus room. Rick dreams of a game room. And maybe this is what it will be.

Back to the current remodeling job: there were two doors that went into the storage area/bonus room/game room. Rick closed off these doors with drywall. One door would have been where the shower will go. The other door would have been in the middle of the walk-in closet. To replace these two doors, he put one door at the end of the hallway, which makes more sense.

After some discussion, we decided to rework one of the existing doors and make it work for this new spot. It didn’t make sense to buy a new door when we already have two doors. We would just change the door to reflect the new style of this area.

Before

This is how the door started. Basically, a 1950’s style blonde door. We actually like that it has windows because this will provide some needed light into the hallway. The blonde style just doesn’t work anymore. I convinced Rick to paint it.

One afternoon, Rick sanded down the door to remove the shiny finish. Then, he primed it. I had picked out a couple possible paint colors. After painting some of the other walls and doors in this space, I decided to paint this door the color of the bi-fold doors, trim and walk-in closet. This would keep the entire area bright.

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When Rick applied the primer, he did not tape the windows. He thought it would be easier to use a razor blade and remove the paint afterwards. After I painted the door, touched it up with a second coat and let it dry, it was time to remove the excess paint on the windows. Rick has a cute little razor blade holder. I started to remove the paint and decided a new blade was in order. After replacing the blade, the paint zipped off rather quickly.

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It was really quite easy and rewarding. Not a lot of time or energy and quick progress. I turned the door around and did the reverse side. Soon, the windows looked great and the renewed door was taking shape.

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It took a little time, effort and planning to renew the door. Would it have been easier to buy a new door? Probably. But we are trying to be faithful stewards and reuse items as we can. I think it is cool to keep as much of the previous items from the house in tack.

 

As I was scrapping away the paint, I began to see a metaphor to my life. I can identify various points in my life when I needed a renewal. I needed to sand away parts of my life that were not as productive or necessary. I needed a coat of the Holy Spirit to smooth out my imperfections and provide a good base daily living. While the top coat of paint can cover up things I don’t want anyone else to see, God knows the flaws lie beneath and overlooks them anyway. Sometimes, I need to scrap away the things that keep me from fully loving God and my neighbors; things that draw me more into myself and away from God’s guiding hand in my life. And throw these things into the trash.

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If I were completely honest, I would acknowledge that daily, I need this renewal. Yep. Every. Single. Day.

Thank goodness God doesn’t get tired of remodeling us. God doesn’t get frustrated when we’re been renewed and we quickly revert back to our previous unhealthy ways. God isn’t afraid of a little sanding, painting and scraping to bring us back into God’s loving arms. It doesn’t matter how much gets scraped away and thrown into the trash. God still sees us as beloved children of God’s kingdom.

It’s not God that’s afraid of renewal. Most often, it’s we who don’t want to make ourselves vulnerable enough. But when we do, the finished product is often oh, so beautiful.

After

Hubby Rick is hanging the door. I know it’s going to look great!

 

For a God who never tires of renewal, I am grateful.

Holy God – thank you for knowing when I need renewal before I do. Thank you for also knowing which parts of me need to be sanded, primed and repainted. May I willingly accept renewal in my life. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 137 – Disappointment

Wed., Oct. 17, 2018

Psalm 96:11 – Let heaven celebrate! Let the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it roar!

I messed up. Big time.

Each week, I meet with Isaac. He is a fifth grader and the student I mentor through the local school district.

Last week, Isaac was so excited to remind me that the day after we met was his golden birthday. Apparently, he had told me this the following week. And I forgot. Actually, I don’t remember Isaac telling me this. Clearly, I wasn’t paying attention.

It was the day before Isaac’s golden birthday and I was not at prepared to celebrate this monumental event for a pre-teenager. Isaac told me it was OK that I forgot. I promised that we would celebrate his birthday this week.

birthday present

Today is mentoring day. I am prepared. I have a bag full of goodies and a balloon to top it off. We will be celebrating Isaac’s birthday today.

I don’t know all of Isaac’s story, which is OK. What I do believe is that Isaac has encounter quite a bit of disappointment in his short life. Unfortunately, I added to it.

How do you feel when you are disappointed? Do you regularly get disappointed? By other people? Family members? Business associates? Friends?

Has God ever disappointed you as well? I know God has disappointed me.

It’s easy to say, “Disappointment is a part of life.” Actually, this is true. But hearing or saying those words really doesn’t make us feel any better, does it?

When I am on the side of letting someone else down, I often feel worse than they do. It is very important to me to follow through on any commitment I make. Not doing so causes me to be so hard on myself. My mind can easily spin a laundry list of no-do-good idioms of how silly I am.

So, can you imagine how God feels every time God is disappointed? We think we get disappointed in others? What about God? Every. Single. Day, God is disappointed. You. Me. Your best friend. Your worst enemy. We all disappoint God.

Yet, this doesn’t stop God from fully loving us, caring for us or wanting to move forward from the disappointment. Why is it that we can easily get caught in our disappointment? Why do we let disappointment overshadow all the good things in our lives? We let disappointment rule the emotional roost and it prevents us from appreciating and rounding up all the reasons we have to be grateful.

Thankfully, God doesn’t get hung up in disappointment. God moves forward quicker than the act of us letting God down. Doesn’t matter how many times I’ve disappointed God, God moves on. Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve disappointed God, God moves on. No questions asked.

Does this mean forgiveness is cheap or free? Nope. Does this mean disappointment has no meaning in God’s kingdom? Absolutely not. What this means is we can’t measure God’s currency in the same way we measure our currency because they aren’t the same.

I am confident Isaac will and has overlooked the disappointment I caused him last week. I think I have it right this week: a bag with snacks, stickers, a game, a balloon … what else could a 5th grader want? I pray Isaac can share about his golden birthday with me tomorrow. And we’ll be able to extend it just a few more days with a little celebration tomorrow.

For God’s ability to overlook the times I disappoint God, I am thankful.

Almighty God – you are so quick to let go, move on and accept us just the way we are. Nonetheless, please forgive me for the many, many times I have disappointed you and others. May your great example inspire me to model your great love and actions in my life. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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