Gratitude Day 207 – What I learned in January 2019

Thurs., Jan. 31, 2019

Proverbs 24:32 – I observed this and took it to heart; I saw it and learned a lesson.

On this last day of January, I pulled out my calendar and thought about what are some life lessons that I’ve discovered or rediscovered this month. Personally, I find this exercise helpful. Why? It’s so easy to let time go by without any evaluation. Each time I take a few minutes and do this, I discover a lesson that I want to take to heart.

So, what are some lessons I learned this past month? Thanks for asking!

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  1. In the central upper Midwest, we’ve ended the month with record-breaking cold weather. An Artic Vortex came screaming into Wisconsin and has hung around for a while. It has been officially colder in Wisconsin than at Mount Everest and Antarctica this week. The cold was preceded by two snow events. In the last two weeks, most schools in Wisconsin have canceled classes and events for six days!! Wednesday and Thursday – no mail delivery!

Many folks have stayed home or changed plans to stay out of the ridiculously cold temps. But some people can’t. As a chaplain with the local police department, I ride with the officers every so often. I had a scheduled ride-along one night during the blistering cold temps. Yes, I could have canceled. But if Officer Scott was working, why shouldn’t I join him? It’s more than police officers who work no matter what. It’s fire fighters, EMT’s, and other rescue personal. It’s farmers and ranchers, carrying for their animals. Its people helping those who have problems because of the cold. It’s the homeless. It’s the fragile folks.

Hubby Rick is a night truck driver and has worked every night since Sunday. Yes, he dresses accordingly, but yikes, it’s been cold! When he crawled into bed after a long shift, he asked when we are moving to Belize. He might have packed his bags right then, had I agreed.

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Today’s sun is deceiving. But doesn’t it look pretty?

 

  1. Recently, I dusted off an old hobby – sewing. For years, I sewed lots of things. Then, life happened. At Thanksgiving, I decided to make quilts for our youngest three grandchildren for Christmas. It was a bit of a push, but worth it. After they opened them, granddaughter Ellie wanted to be wrapped in her quilt like a burrito. Of course, her brothers followed suit. It was fun to watch them enjoy their quilts. And made the effort so worth it.

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  1. One of my new mantras for the year is 20-minutes. I’ve picked things important to me and dedicate 20-minutes a day to them. I use this concept with exercise and my devotional life. We often think we don’t have time to do something. Maybe, we really only need 20-minutes. This plan helps me focus on things important to me, if only for a short period every day. Best of all: it’s working!

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  1. A challenge that I’m still struggling with? Working on the most important things everyday and not just the urgent. I’m not sure I’ll ever get this fine-tuned. But naming the struggle is step one in dealing with it.

As you get ready to flip the calendar to February tomorrow, first pause. Think about the things that have been most meaningful to you in the last four weeks. What was something that you’ve been struggling with and would love to make progress? Ponder these things in your heart. Learn a lesson from the first month of 2019. Take it to heart and grow from this lesson.

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For learned and relearned life lessons, I am grateful.

Lord God – too often, we think lessons must be big and important life revelations. More often, you speak to us in a still, quiet voice of everyday life. I pray we see your hands touching our lives in these small and important daily lessons. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 206 – Refresh Wednesday #3

Wed., Jan. 30, 2019

Psalm 63:6 – whenever I ponder you on my bed, whenever I meditate on you in the middle of the night—

Welcome to Refresh Wednesday!

Today, I’m excited to share with you a project that is one of my FAVORITE refreshes we have completed in our house. It’s a great example of taking something old we had at our house, refreshing it and repurposing it for another use.

Would you like to know more?

Good, I can’t wait to share!!

Last fall, we created a beautiful master suite on the second floor of our 1906 Victorian Farmhouse. I’m anxiously awaiting to show you the entire room but have held off because we’re waiting for our floor guy to refinish the hardwood floors. He’s experienced some challenges in his personal life, which are far more important than our floors, so we wait.

When my sister and her husband bought a new king-sized bed, they gave us their old one. We started with just the frame, box spring and mattress. As we put the suite together, I really felt the bed really needed a headboard.

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Here’s what the head of the bed looks like. Nothing too fancy, right?

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Until you remove the pillows and see this.

I began looking for a headboard online. Notice the window above the bed? I love the light the window lets into the room, but it affects the height of the headboard. While I found something that would have worked, I wasn’t thrilled with it.

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This is when I came up with a much better idea that didn’t cost us anything. Well, except the paint, which we already had.

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We have some old doors from the house that we no longer are using. Some of these doors are very narrow, like less than 30” wide narrow. Upon my request, Rick dug one of these doors out. We measured the length of the door and discovered it was just a little long for the king-sized bedframe. It would work great as a headboard!

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Rick cut the door to fit the bedframe. Then, he made posts for each end to attach the headboard to the frame. He found a piece of leftover trim in the attic, which he fashioned as a cap for the top of the bedframe. After sanding the door, we put on a coat of primer. Once dry, we painted the door a dark charcoal grey. The bedroom walls are a medium grey. The dark grey headboard looks stunning against the lighter walls.  (Look carefully … you see the floors we’re waiting to refinish.)

When we show people the headboard, most do not realize that it used to be a door. Rick did such a great job; the headboard looks like it was made this way!

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My favorite part of the project? We took something that was original to the house, refurbished it and made it into something that fits into the design and décor of our house.

When I wake up in the morning, I spend a few minutes in prayer before me feet hit the ground. I dedicate my day to God. I ask for God to direct and guide me through the day. I ask for wisdom in making decisions and noticing the things God desires for me to note. As I meditate in bed, I pray that I can suppress my will and seek God’s will for me for the upcoming day.

I’m anxious to continue this morning ritual in our master suite, once the floors are completed. In the meantime, several overnight guests have utilized this bed and master suite. I’ve loved being able to share this refurbished headboard with them. In fact, my sister was so taken by the beauty and function of the door-turned-into-headboard, she had Rick make her one, using an extra door that she had! We’re letting her choose what color she wants to paint it once we get it back to her house. It’s another example of using something you already have and refurbishing it into another life.

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For refurbished furniture that adds beauty to our home, I am grateful.

Holy God – beauty comes in many different ways. Sometimes, we just need to look at something from a little different perspective to see the purpose and beauty in a new way. On this day, maybe it’s something in our personal lives that needs some tweaking and imagination. May we not be afraid of potential refurbishing’s that come into our lives, realizing the finished product can be truly amazing. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 205 – Christmas Cactus

Tues., Jan. 29, 2019

Isaiah 40:8 – The grass dries up; the flower withers, but our God’s word will exist forever.

I love having plants and flowers inside the house. For me, they are like a little breath of fresh air; a bit of color that brightens a room and brings a smile to your face.

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In early November, this Christmas cactus bloomed. Last winter, it bloomed very close to Thanksgiving. It hasn’t quite figured out when it’s the Christmas season and blooms whenever it wants!

Imagine my surprise when about 10 days ago, IT BLOOMED AGAIN!!

How did this happen?

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Some friends were visiting just as the blossoms were bursting into their deep magenta color. One asked how I teased the Christmas cactus into blooming again. My answer was quite scientific: “I just let it be.”

The right answer has something about less daylight and more darkness and less water. Yes, I think I put it someplace where it would get less light. Often, I only water plants so the plants don’t get overwatered. Honestly, I didn’t plan for these things to happen so the cactus would bloom again. It did it all on its own; much to my joy and surprise.

This second blooming was maybe a bit more meaningful because the cactus bloomed right about the one-year anniversary of my Mom’s death. And this plant used to be her cactus.

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As much as I love plants and flowers in the house, I don’t fuss over them. I don’t spend hours and hours making sure they are getting the right amount of sunshine. I try to put fertilizer in the water every other week. Sometimes I remember. Sometimes I forget.

For as little attention as they receive, sometimes the plants look great. Other times, they really could use a little mothering. Unfortunately, they are on their own too much of the time.

Yet, I do enjoy having a few real plants in the house, especially in the winter. When there is less light in general and no pretty flowers to cut outside and bring inside, my heart yearns for something, anything, that is living and breathing. Why? Because they give me hope.

Hope for spring.

Hope for warmer weather.

Hope that just as a plant cycles through its life cycle, so do I.

Sometimes I’m blooming.

Other times, my flowers have withered.

All the time, I need sun and water and a fertilizer to keep my soul nurtured.

Even if my flowers have withered, God’s presence in my life is consistent and never-ending. It’s not God who wanders away from me; it’s me who has wandered away from God.

Soon, these flowers will wither, and I’ll pluck them off the plant. When will it bloom again? I’m not sure. Will I be more attentive to doing the “right” things so it will bloom? Maybe … or maybe not. Either way, God is with me. God loves my heart and soul, even when it’s a little dry and needs some fertilizer. God never gives up on me, even if I doubt or am angry or disappointed. And I have the hope that even if I’m not as attentive to God as I should be, God keeps hoping for the spring day in my life when I come wandering back to God. Looking for a little fertilizer. Searching for a good drink of water. Ready to deepen my relationship with God once again.

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For a God who loves me even when wither, I am grateful.

Almighty God – thank you for the beautiful flowers on this Christmas cactus not just once this winter, but twice. Thank you for the little lessons even this small plant can instill in my life. Thank you for loving me when I bloom and when I withered.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 204 – Old Man Winter

Mon., Jan. 28, 2019

Jeremiah 18:14 – Does the snow of Lebanon ever leave the highland crags? Or does cold water flowing from a distance ever fail?

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Old Man Winter has blown into Wisconsin … and has no intentions of leaving anytime soon.

Last week, we had snow and cold. On Saturday morning, Hubby Rick announced is was -22 outside shortly before I left for a meeting. This is -22 temperature; not wind chill.

We’re in for another round of snow on Monday and then days of bitterly cold weather. Like, not above zero as a high bitterly cold.

Looks like most every school in Wisconsin is canceled on Monday because of the impending snow storm. How many schools will be then closed because of the extended cold remains to be seen.

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For everyone, the cold weather is difficult and challenging. It’s even more so if you fall into one of these categories:

  • You work outside. People who move snow, work for a public works division, or others who are required to work even in awful weather.
  • Farmers and ranchers.
  • Police officers, EMT’s, fire fighters and other safety servants.
  • Plumbers, electricians and heating folks who help those with problems from the weather.
  • Truck drivers.
  • Meteroligists who people love to dislike when forecasts are awful or challenging to predict.
  • The homeless.
  • People living in marginal living conditions.
  • Elderly and those with significant health conditions.
  • And a whole bunch of other groups I’m failing to mention.

If you live somewhere where the weather is going to be challenging this week, be mindful of those who are dealing with the weather. Give them extra grace. Provide some way to help them. Count your blessings and realize how fortunate you are if you aren’t on this list.winter+weather

For those who live and work in situations challenged by snow and cow, I am grateful.

Holy God – please be with those who live in a place where the snow and cold can affect them this week. When a difficult situation arises, please bring others to assist and uphold those challenged by our weather. May we all be a pit more patient this week. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 203 – Urgent vs. Important

Sat., Jan. 26, 2019

Psalm 86:6 – Listen closely to my prayer, O God. Hear my urgent cry.

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One of my 2019 goals has been to focus more on the really “important” things in my life versus the “urgent.”

There’s a difference? Glad you asked.

The “important” things: these are the “big” things that bring you joy, happiness and inspiration. The things that you want others to know as your signature items. The values and work (paid or unpaid) that you feel is where you make a difference in people’s lives.

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The “urgent” things: the things that you feel “must” be done. They often are the more mundane items that are important (i.e. – paying bills so the electricity or phone doesn’t get turned off) but not all the sexy. They often mask themselves as being seemingly quick and easy tasks that can turn into items that suck your time, energy and attention.

 

I’ll list what I think are some “important” things in my life and what are the seemingly “urgent” items.

Important: writing for this blog as well as the book that I’m working on; much of the volunteer work I do as ministry work as well as things I do for the local school and community; my part-time marking job; daily devotions; taking care of my temple through proper eating and exercise, investing in important relationships.

Urgent: managing our finances; laundry; shopping; making and keeping necessary appointments; keeping up with the house; meals and food; some volunteer responsibilities that I’d like to reduce in my life.

Of course, there is a whole bunch of stuff that falls in-between. Sometimes, these things are important, i.e. – planning a vacation. It’s important to have time away to spend with loved ones and recharge your soul. This can be urgent when you need to get things booked, plans made, etc.

What falls in-between will vary from person to person. One person’s hobby can be important, whereas a similar item for another will be a nagging urgent. Reading for spiritual growth is important to me. Reading e-mail and other things often feels very, very urgent.

What about social media? This can very different for various people.

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Too often, I let the “urgent” run my schedule. I look at my to-do list and think, “I just want to get some of these quick items crossed off my list. Then, I’ll work on some of the bigger, more important items.” The problem? “Urgent” items always take longer than I anticipate. Beginning an urgent item often leads to a whole bunch of other urgent items. Before you know it, time goes towards the “urgent” and the “important” get shoved to the back for another day, week, month or year.

Anyone else feel my pain? And so, the struggle continues.

This week, I was determined to spend more time with the “important” than the “urgent.” My to-do list had plenty of “urgent” things. All week, I might get a couple done. Most kept getting rolled over into tomorrow’s to-do list. Friday morning, I realized some urgent things needed to be tackled or dropped off the list.

Time management gurus often say some of our “urgent” things should be thrown into the wastebasket.

Anyone else feel the pain of trying to let these things go? And so, the struggle continues.

I spent most of Friday working through the “urgent” list, ignoring the “important” things I desperately want to put my time into.

And so, the struggle continues.

I have rocked some “important” areas so far this year. I love the new way I’m doing daily devotions and loving it. I’m exercising for at least 20 minutes a day. I am blogging regularly and writing some. But so many other “important” things never see the light of day.

And so, the struggle continues.

If you struggle with this, I’d love to hear your insights. How you try to manage this? What is your best tip to not let your life get consumed with the urgent?

And so, the struggle continues.

So often, this same struggle is often found in our prayer lives. How often do we pray for the really “important” things? How much of your prayer life is consumed with the “urgent” requests? Just another example how the “urgent” often takes over.

Having answers for these types of challenges can be hard. What we should not do is stop seeking or trying to find ways that resonate with us and our lives.

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For help in determining what the “important” things in our lives versus the “urgent”, I am grateful.

Lord God – thanks for being patient with me when I struggle to do the really important things. I appreciate your graciousness in allowing us to make these daily choices. May I find ways to focus on the “important” versus the “urgent” in my daily life. Amen.

 

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 202 – Defining Leadership

Fri., Jan. 25, 2019

Romans 12:8 – If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.

It might have been one of the worse days of his life. But it seems this leader kept track of his priorities.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was making a run to lead his team back to the Super Bowl last Sunday night. In the NFC Championship game, Brees may have experienced one of the worst losses of his career. For many, it feels like his trip back to the Big Dance was literally ripped from his hands. The no-call was dramatic. The overtime was problematic. The whole evening must have been a huge disappointment. As the leader of his team, I can only imagine the personal thoughts going through his mind after the game.

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Yet, when the stadium was nearly empty, Drew’s true leadership skills were displayed. Saint’s reporters said this dad/professional football player/Christian let his kids run around on the field. He played catch with them and even stopped to tie one of his son’s shoes. While Brees is the leader of the Saints, it appears he knows what role is more important: that, of being a leader of his family.

Rather than letting the emotion of losing this big game consume him, Brees showed that his kids and family are more important than a Super Bowl ring. Did his kids understand what had just happened on the field? I have no clue. What I think Brees taught them, as well as us, is that when life gets tough or you are struggling, remember what is most important to you.

Brees has spoken of his Christian faith. Raised as a Christian, Brees says he became committed to his faith when he was 17. He was sitting at church with a torn ACL, wondering what his life purpose was. This was not the last time Brees would experience professional set-backs. He says such setbacks have strengthened his relationship with God. He says, “I live for God, for the faith that I have in Him … all I have to do is just give my best, commit the rest to Him.”

True leaders quietly show us that even in our worse moments, our priorities do not change. How Brees handled himself after the game defines what kind of man he is. Brees didn’t play ball with his kids so he could be photographed for social media. He played catch with his kids because this is what he does as a dad; as a leader; as a Christian.

For his family and the rest of the world, Brees reminded us that even in our worse moments, may we not loose sight of what is truly important. What our priorities are. What defines who we are. This is what excellent leaders do every day.

Thanks for reminding us, Drew. Thanks for being a leader not only for your team and your family, but for the rest of us as well.

For reminders to keep our priorities in check and be inspired by great leaders, I am grateful.

Almighty God – Jesus demonstrated for us that being a leader when things are tough is a lot harder than when things are going swell. May we be inspired to not let our priorities run amuck when life gets hard. Thank you for wonderful examples of Christian people who try to live this in their daily lives. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 201 – Refresh Wednesday #2

Wed., Jan. 23, 2019

1 Corinthians 6:19 – Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves?

Last Wednesday, I began “Refresh Wednesdays.” Each Wednesday, I plan to post some easy, quick little thing I’ve done lately that brings joy to my life.

In the first “Refresh Wednesday,” I shared how I updated our beautiful front porch from Christmas decorations to a winter wonderland-inspired décor that will be appropriate until our Wisconsin winter disappears.

Today, I’m going to share one of my new mantras for 2019. It’s really very simple:

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20-minutes.

I prioritize things that are important for me to do each day for just 20-minutes. Nothing more. Just 20-minutes.

Here’s an example: exercise. For years, I ran multiple days a week, lifted weights a couple times a week and rode bike when weather allowed a couple days a week. Since we moved to our current house three years ago, exercise has been such a struggle for me. I don’t have my favorite running trails anymore. As we focused on remodeling our house the last few years, I felt like I didn’t have time and/or energy to exercise. All too quickly and easily, exercise fell by the wayside.

At my annual physical two years ago, my doctor encouraged me to lose 10-15% of my body weight. (One person told me that I should find a new doctor!) Ugh. It’s so challenging. When I went for my physical last fall, I was down a few pounds; just not as much as I would have liked.

I know exercise is important. I should exercise, as both of my parents struggled with health issues at the end of their lives. My pants would fit better if I lost those pounds my doctor encourages me to lose. And yes, I would be able to wear those things in my closet that don’t really fit but I’ve hung onto, anticipating SOME DAY I will be able to wear them again.

I’ve put together exercise schedules, willed myself to get make exercise a priority … all with little success. Through the process, I keep reminding myself of the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I knew that I needed to change my approach if I wanted different results.

Here’s my new approach in 2019: 20-minutes of exercise a day. This is all I expect of myself. A 20-minute walk or run. A 20-minute DVD. A 20-minute online video. Or 20-minutes of exercises that I choose to do myself. Just 20-minutes a day. I should be able to find this short window time, right?

So far, I have been. Some days when it works, I might do two 20-minute exercise blocks. I’ll go for 20-minute walk and do a workout video later. I don’t expect myself to do this every day; my first priority is always that first 20-minute block.

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With this mentality, I no longer talk myself out of doing some form of exercise. I KNOW 20-minutes can be found. It just needs to be a priority.

Honestly, exercising is not about fitting into clothes better or anticipating someone will finally notice that I’m down a couple pounds. The real reason why exercise is so important? It’s how I want to care for my body. I view my body as a temple. Just as we want to carefully care for the temples, the places where we worship God, we should also care for our bodies as a temple for God. Neglecting to care for my body says to God that I don’t value how God created my body, my temple. Exercise is one way that I can express appreciation for the finely-tuned body God has provided me.

As I get a little older, I also must be realistic about what I expect and how I care for my body. I’m convinced that 20-minutes a day is really more helpful for my body than one day of overdoing exercise. Not only is it good for my physical body, it also gives me a mental break.

What is something you’ve been wanting to change in your life? Something you’ve been trying to change … but keep reverting back to the old way of doing things, yet expecting different results? What is one thing you can do today for 20-minutes that will bring joy to your life as well as provide self-care for your temple?

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Just find 20-minutes and do it.

Now, if I could only fix my eating habits as easily …

For refreshing my physical body, 20-minutes at a time, I am grateful. 

Holy God – thank you for the wonderful temple that you have provided me with my body. Forgive me for the times I have not appreciated my body nor cared for it well. May I discover easy and important ways to care for my body. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 202 – Working Together

Thurs., Jan. 24, 2019

2 Corinthians 6:1 – Since we work together with him, we are also begging you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

And then, there was winter.

After scooting by the beginning of winter with very little snow and very mild temps, well, winter has arrived.

In the last 24+ hours, we’ve had 8-10 inches of snow. And we had several inches last weekend. I know, it’s not like living in Buffalo, NY … but it’s snow.

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We live north of Madison, WI. Today, I saw this cool picture. Count all of those snow plows, working together. They are on a main commuting route in Madison called The Beltline. How cool is this?

I know. Some people were complaining that not enough snow was moved before the morning commute. Or there wasn’t enough snow or salt. Or the side streets weren’t cleared. Let me just say … it’s impossible to get all the snow moved at the same time so that everyone can get just where they want as quickly as they would like. The roads department can’t do it all right now.

What this picture shows me is something super cool: teamwork. A bunch of folks working together, for the benefit of others. A little reminder that sometimes, we need to remember the bigger picture. We aren’t the center of God’s universe. When we figure this out, well, it really is a happier place for us.

Can we just stop wanting more for ourselves and decide that the best way to feel good about ourselves is to help someone else?

Can we set aside our personal preference for the benefit of a larger group?

Can we encourage others to do their best and in turn, then be encouraged to do our best?

When we see ourselves as Christians, then we are part of a larger community. Christians aren’t a community of one. They are a part of a huge family that includes people that are very different from you. In fact, there maybe some you don’t even really like. They are going to look different than you do, care for things that aren’t as important to you and irritate you some day. And just as you are a beloved child of God, SO ARE THEY.

I think we Christians can do some really amazing things here for God’s kingdom on earth. If we’d only work together and decide what we hold in common is really more important than where we differ.

So, let’s give each other an extra dose of grace today. Let’s find some folks who are excited to work together. Go make a difference in someone’s life, a community or the world. We can plow through a lot of barriers when we work together.

For a wonderful example of working together, I am grateful.

Lord God – thank you for giving us wonderful examples of working together, with the best example of all found in the Trinity of God. Help us to focus on the things we agree on more than the areas where we disagree. May we unite and work together for the glory and honor of your kingdom. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 200 – A Little Inspiration!

Tues. 22, 2019

2 Timothy 3:16 – Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character,

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Take a close look at the picture. I know … it’s not that interesting. But let me point out something important. Do you see on the stuff BELOW the shelf on my desk? The boxes with scissors and pens, paperclips and notepads, sticky notes and then the bigger box? The box with my version of a rolodex, camera and a couple DVD’s that I need to return? Yes, some of us still do keep paper files of contact information. (For those too old to know what a rolodex is, this is where people used to store all of their contact information. Before we had phones glued to our hips and hands.)

OK, all that stuff. It used to be on TOP of the shelf. And had been for the 3+ years I’ve had my desk in the current office space I use.

Well, a couple weeks ago, I looked at all of that STUFF on the TOP SHELF and decided it had to go. It needed a new home. It needed to be not the first thing that I see when I look up from my computer and towards the wall.

I wanted more inspirational things than old boxes with pens, markers, scissors and such. Yes, the little wooden boxes are kind of cute. In fact, they are old cheese mold boxes. To prove this, they have words like “Kraft” and “Windsor Club Cheese” on the side.”

But I digress.

When I look up from my computer, I wanted to see things that inspire me. Not a bunch of stuff that is, well, just there so I can grab quickly when I need something. Yes, I still needed that stuff nearby. But the first thing that I see?

So, I began a quick little office desk make-over.

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First, I cleaned everything off of my desk, including my laptop. And then, I started over. I put the boxes with stuff under the shelf. I moved the files around in the cubbies on the end of the shelf. I went looking for artwork and pictures and things that inspire me. Yes, the big picture with the Holstein cow had been hanging above my desk. I knew that I wanted to keep this. I just wanted a few other things to put ON the shelf that remind me of why I do the things that I do each week. I found the “Grateful” picture holder my sister Debbie gave me. I found a picture of Jesus coming down from the cross that I bought while traveling in Europe. I found a picture of Hubby Rick and I with our grandkids … and then had to go find a picture frame to put it in. I found two Bonnie Mohr prints, who happens to be my FAVORITE artist. While Bonnie has painted lots of agricultural scenes, I love her inspirational work and included two of these on my inspirational wall. And see the little candle on the end? It was given to me by my friend Betty, right before Christmas. For no reason at all, other than just to say, “Thank you.”

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I’m not sure if the wall will help me be a better writer. Or be more diligent about my work. But it sure is a lot prettier to look at.

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We all need inspiration. When we read scripture, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the very words we read were inspired by God. These words are given to us a gift to challenge us to look at our daily living and see where we might just need a bit of fine tuning, a little correction, a little forgiveness asking.

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I know that most of the ideas I share on my blog aren’t really unique to me. Most ideas actually came to me through some type of inspiration. Something I read here. Something I noticed there. Something that I saw in my life and thought maybe might be inspiration to someone else as well.

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What inspires you? How do you surround yourself with things that are important and inspiration to you? Where can you build yourself a little inspiration wall of your favorite things?

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For inspiration that comes to me in many different ways, I am grateful.

Lord God – what an inspiration You are to many! Through your biblical words, the design of nature, the community of brothers and sisters we see daily. How could anyone other than You create such an amazing world! Please keep inspiring us to be Your hands and feet of Your kingdom.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 199 – Serenity

Mon., Jan. 21, 2019

Ephesians 4:2 – Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love,

Anyone struggling with not keeping up with the goals you have for yourself?

Me too.

And then, I ran across this saying:

other serenity prayer

You maybe familiar with the Serenity Prayer. It goes like this:

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

It’s a common prayer used in recover and 12-step programs. But this isn’t the only place it can be helpful. I think it’s a great reminder for daily living. It’s OK to acknowledge there are things we can and cannot affect and change. And it’s OK to be able to identify between the difference.

I also like this alternative version because it reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect. Some days, I feel like I am able to be more gracious with myself. Other days, not so much. On those days I’m not very gracious, it’s easy to focus on everything that I could have done better. I could have eaten better, made more time for exercise, checked more things off of my to-do list, wasted less time, focused on the most important things first … the list goes on and on.

Maybe, some days, it’s OK to not be at the top of your game. It’s acceptable to take life a little slower and enjoy moments.

So, if you are one of those people who isn’t very gracious with yourself, read these words carefully. Maybe even speak them aloud, as a prayer. Not only say them; believe them.

I’m a beloved child of God.

I am enough for today.

Grant me the grace I need right now.

Help me see my value and worth through God’s eyes and not just my own.

May I know God loves me, just as I am.

For accepting grace for myself, I am grateful.

Holy God – sometimes, it’s just easier to see our faults than recognize the good things we’ve done. Help us be gracious with ourselves. May we know that you love us just the way we are. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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