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:

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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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Gratitude Day 198 – When Days are Hard

Sat., Jan. 19, 2019

Psalm 119:28 – My spirit sags because of grief. Now raise me up according to your promise!

1986 was a hard year for my parents, Dick and Ann Deaton. At the time, they had operated a small dairy farm in Wisconsin for over 25 years. High interest rates and a very challenging dairy industry landed my parents in an unfortunate financial situation. They literally did not know how they could ever dig themselves out of the financial hole they were in, let alone make even the smallest payment on every bill that came through the mailbox. My Dad was also having significant health issues and needed surgery ASAP.

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In early October 1986, my parents made the difficult decision to liquidate their farm assets. A farm auction was scheduled for mid-November. On an emotionally draining day, my family said good-bye to all of our cows, including our favorite ones. The machinery and equipment were sold. Even the farm truck was auctioned.

Just a few days after the sale, my Dad had shoulder surgery.

After the auction, much changed for my parents. Within a few weeks, my Dad began working off the farm. He went from milking cows and running a dairy to now calling on dairy producers and helping them produce high quality milk.

My parents rarely spoke of the emotions they felt at the time. My siblings and I were very aware of the strain these challenges put on my parent’s marriage. But as a 19-year-old, I didn’t have the maturity or presence of mind to ask my parents how they dealt with all the changes and grief involved in stopping farming. I know my Dad felt like a failure. I know he struggled to make sense of how he could have let this happen to him and his family.

Yet, my parents kept going. Eventually, they purchased a house and moved to town. Both my parents pursued new careers and were able to dig themselves out of their financial hole. But it was a while before I heard joy in their voices again and saw smiles on their faces that came naturally.

About six weeks after the auction, I was recognized as the Wisconsin Holstein Girl. This award is given to a person under 21 who has excelled in the Wisconsin dairy industry and is seen as having potential for impacting the dairy industry in the future. It was a complete surprise. I never imagined that I would be selected. My parents were present when the announcement was made. After the banquet, I handed Dad the plaque. I shared how I felt this honor was just as much his as it was mine. Had not my Dad and Mom made so many sacrifices for me and encouraged me to pursue things that I loved to do, I would not have received this honor.

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This was 32 years ago. A couple weeks ago, my nephew, Zach, was recognized as the 2019 Wisconsin Holstein Boy. I am a very proud aunt. It was surreal to see him receive this honor. At the banquet, I was taken back to the night 32 years earlier. Currently, the dairy industry is in an equally, if not an even more challenging time. In Wisconsin, about 600 dairy farms went out of business in 2018. This means about 600 farm families made the same difficult decision my parents did in 1986. I wonder how these folks are dealing with their decisions and changes. How are they coping with the loss of a career and the disappointment of having to leave a way of living that people find rewarding?

Grief is tricky. Grief can smother us and overwhelm us. There are many different stages of grief. We can feel that we’re dealing with our grief and disappointment well until something happens, and well, we aren’t. Sometimes, people feel like they get stuck in grief and don’t know how to get off the grief treadmill.

Sometimes, people want others to take on or absorb or feel their grief. But we can’t. Our grief cannot be someone else’s grief and vice versa. I can try to listen to your grief and be present with you. But I cannot remove or feel just like you do. Why? Your grief is your grief. My grief is my grief. The two are not the same.

What disappointment are you experiencing in your life right now? What is overwhelming you and making you question everything that you know and previously have believed? What disappointment would you like to eliminate from your life … and try as you might, it keeps showing back up like a bad cough?

Unfortunately, I can’t “fix” your grief. Nor can anyone else. If you are experiencing grief right now, I pray you have a friend where you can safely share your grief. I pray that you give yourself space to work through your pain and disappointment, rather than trying to mask or hide it. I pray you do not get frustrated when grief shows up again in your life, especially after you thought you had dealt with it.

What did I learn from my parents through this awful time in their lives? They dusted off their feet and kept going. They didn’t give up on their lives or marriage. They remain committed to contributing to their family and society. They didn’t let losing a farm define the rest of their lives. No, they chose to place their hope in something not of this world but in the promises of God.

When their spirits sagged because of their grief, they sought God’s promise of better days. This, I believe, is what helped them eventually cross over to a place where they could enjoy life again. In time, they found more good days than challenging days.

I do believe the experience going through those challenging days helped me. I watched my parents not give up on God or blame God or determine that faith was no longer important in their lives. Disappointment did change how they viewed faith and their relationship with God. But they decided that faith in God was important.

I pray your experience of pain and grief can help you mature in faith and help you see of God is always there as a safety net.

For lessons learned from disappointment and grief, I am grateful.

Almighty God – when bad things happen, we want quick answers from you. But seldom, do quick answers come. We question, “Why,” when maybe the more helpful question is, “Who?” Who will journey with us through these challenging days? Why, You will, Lord God. Thank you for this gift. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 197 – Signs of Gratitude

Fri., Jan. 18, 2019

Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe,

“You sure have a lot of things in your house with the words ‘grateful’ and ‘thankful’ on them,” our 8-year-old granddaughter Ellie told me recently.

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We were sitting at my desk searching the internet for fun gymnastic photos for Ellie. When I looked up, I saw two items on my desk, each with one of those words.

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She had a point.

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My mind quickly began recalling the various other items in our house that express one of these words or a variation of them. Point is? Ellie is right. There ARE lots of things in our house that include these words.

Then came Ellie’s next question, “Why?”

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Why do I have a variety of things expressing these words?

Because these words mean a lot to me. They capture the essence of one of my core values. No matter what is going on in my life or the world, I have much to be grateful and thankful for. Rather than spending ridiculous amounts of energy focusing on things that disappoint me or I wish were different (and often out of my control), I choose to surround myself with the thousands and thousands of ways I truly am blessed. Having little reminders throughout our house is a way to subcontiously remind myself that I am truly blessed.

Because, I am.

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Sure, I’d like to lose some weight. And be more productive with my time. I wish I would say all the right things in difficult situations, rather than the wrong things that often come out of my mouth. I’d like to be more humble and listen more. I wish I would stop comparing myself to others and be completely happy with who I am.

 

Most days, there is this little voice inside of me that tries to lure me to a place where I know I could easily become cynical and question why there always seems to be some crazy thing in my life lurking just around the corner. Before this becomes the most important thought in my day, I choose to counter these difficult thoughts with gratitude … thankfulness … blessings. Maybe having these little reminders scattered throughout our house is one way to remind myself that no matter what happens today, my glass is more than half full. I believe in a God who will help me navigate what ever challenge comes my way. At the end of every day, I have thousands of reasons why I am a very blessed person.

How did I answer Ellie? I told her I have items with these words scattered around our house because they are important to me. They are little reminders of what is most important, like she, her brothers and cousins. I hope these words will encourage other people to also be grateful and thankful.

I know this is a lot for an 8-year-old to capture. But, it’s how I feel. And why I surround myself with these words as daily reminders of what perspective I want to see life through.

So, what two or three words are the ones that inspire you the most? What few words do you want to have others see in you? How do you integrate these words into your daily life?

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For little reminders of what is most important to me, I am grateful.

Lord God – when life gets busy, full and overwhelming, it’s easy to lose sight of what is most important. Help us to find small, easy things to help us find our core values each and every day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 196 – Refresh Wednesday

Wed., Jan. 16, 2019

Philemon 1:20 – Yes, brother, I want this favor from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ.

Recently, I took a few hours one afternoon/evening and thought about what some goals are I have for myself in the next 365 days. I was not making resolutions. I contemplated areas where I want to improve in myself.

Goals vs. resolutions. Is there a difference?

I believe there is. Would you like to know my perspective?

Good. Here it is.

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. A goal is the ambition to work towards a desired result. A resolution says, “From here on out, I will (or will not) …” A goal says, “Step by step, I’m going to work towards …”

See the difference?

I can “will” myself not to eat sugar. But I know there will be a day when I will. If I make a resolution not to eat sugar, I set myself up for failure. If I make a goal to consume less sugar and work towards a specific goal, I give myself grace to achieve this over time.

So, what is one of my goals for 2019?

Not to ADD more to my life but to freshened up things that are already a part of my daily journey.

Rather than look at a complete life overhaul (which is exhausting, demanding and unrealistic for me), I want to challenge myself to make slight changes and adjustments. Maybe it’s more of a mind shift in how I think about things. But after years and years of trying to do the overhaul method and failing miserably, I challenged myself to come up with a different approach.

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Freshen up it is.

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Here’s a very simple but quick way to illustrate what I mean.

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Before Christmas, we decorated our beautiful front porch for the holidays. Our gorgeous porch is the first spot that welcomes people into our home. It truly is the place where people can begin to feel the warmth and welcome I desperately want them wash over them as they come into our home.

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My sister, Debbie, helped decorate for Christmas. We took very simple things I already had, tastefully arranged them and inserted some beautiful evergreen arrangements Debbie whipped up. I purposefully suggested keeping this area less Christmasy and more wintery so it could transform from pre-Christmas to post-Christmas with little effort.

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The post-Christmas biggest challenge? See the cute little bench. The one Hubby Rick made from a $12 headboard that I purchased at a thrift shop? It needed to go back inside the house. It moved out here to make room for the Christmas tree. But now, the bench needed to go back inside the foyer, it’s rightful location.

This would be a quick refresh, not a big overhaul.

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First step – remove the white Christmas lights sprinkled in throughout the decorations. While it still looks cool at night, it is time to stop turning on the Christmas lights. Sigh.

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Second step – move everything off the bench, clean it and move it inside.

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Third step – move existing decorations around to make a winter wonderland without the bench.

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Total time to refresh the porch? 10 minutes.

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The only added item is the bin that now holds the sticks of wood. The bin was inside the parlor over Christmas. The sticks of wood were outside. I just put them back together and found a spot for them. Done.

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The whole refreshing time did take a few more minutes. Once everything was in its place on the porch, I put the bench back in its normal spot inside and added a few things to make it look cozy. I think this took another 5 minutes.

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And my heart sang with joy.

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Why remake when all we have to do is refresh?

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Where can you spend 15-20 minutes today and refresh something that will bring joy to your heart?

I’m calling today “Refresh Wednesday.” Look for more “Refresh Wednesday’s” coming up; little things I’m doing to help me work towards achieving goals in the next 365 days. Things that are quick, easy and help my heart sing.

For a quick refresh in my life, I am grateful.

Almighty God – You designed us just the way we are. Yes, you might want to make a few changes to our choices and behavior. But you give each of us unique personalities and perspectives. Place on our hearts little ways we can refresh our life today. Help us see the best way towards long-term change may not be a huge overhaul but simple steps on a regular basis. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 195 – Giving to Somebody

Tues., Jan. 15, 2019

Matthew 10:11 – Whatever city or village you go into, find somebody in it who is worthy and stay there until you go on your way.

I’ve just finished reading one of Eugene Peterson’s book. Peterson was a pastor who also wrote many, many books, including the Bible translation called, “The Message.” In the book I recently read, this was one of his profound statements:

Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.

–  Eugene Peterson

Wow. In this world where we spend most of our time and energy trying to fulfill our person wants, needs and desires, Peterson reminds us to look beyond and outside of ourselves. When everyone else is screaming, “Me! Look at me!” Peterson wants us to look everywhere but me.

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Why?

Research has proven this. Personal experience reinforces this. Jesus taught us: we discover what it means to be a servant leader. We often find more joy in giving than receiving. When we do something for someone else, we feel a lot better about ourselves.

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We can all be too busy. We can all be tired and stressed out. We can all be tapped out.

This is exactly the moments when we must find 5 minutes to help someone else. Give a little of ourselves. Discover the joy of giving beyond ourselves.

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And in the process, I’m confident you’ll find just a little gratitude.

For relearning the lesson to encourage others, I am grateful.

Holy God – Thank you for the most excellent lesson from Jesus of how to encourage and give to others. May there be one person who comes across my path today in which I spend an extra five minutes with them, encouraging them. Thanks for being my great encourager. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 194 – Perspective

Mon., Jan. 14, 2019

1 Peter 2:4 – Now you are coming to him as to a living stone. Even though this stone was rejected by humans, from God’s perspective it is chosen, valuable.

Recently, our grandkids were at our house for the day. Granddaughter Ellie shared with me that she is signed up for photography in 4-H but only has a polaroid camera. We spent time looking at my “nice” camera, an entry model SLR Sony. After I showed her how to properly hold it, carry it and take a basic picture, she was off and taking pictures.

Soon, her older brother Waylan wanted to also takes pictures. After he went through the same basic learning steps, he also was snapping away.

After they were gone, I put the memory card from the camera in my laptop to see the pictures they took. The first one that popped up was this one.

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I knew that I was in for a treat.

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As I scrolled through the photos, one word kept coming into my mind: perspective. Their little brains just look at things from a slightly different perspective than my aged brain does.

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Things are just a little different from their vantage point of life, experience and stage of life.

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What they see is different from what I see.

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How they frame their lives as a child born in the 21st century with significantly different technology sources and experiences is vastly different from how I grew up.

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Yes, some of the photos were blurry. Mind you, this was their first time using an SLR camera. (I think this was little brother Dylan’s attempt to take a picture. I should have realized this when he asked, “Why is it always blurry?)

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What an interesting lesson for me.

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You see, we all see the world from a slightly, or maybe not so slightly, different point of view. It’s easy to think that our position is “right.” Or we become frustrated when someone has a completely different launching point than we do. We loose patience when someone makes the same mistake over and over, unless that person is ourselves.

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In a world that has cultured a significant “me” mentality, we’ve forgotten that others have points of view as well. Others have different vantage points than we do. Just because another’s perspective is skewed from our position, their perspective may not always be wrong and our position always right. They are just different.

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Do we ever contemplate what God’s perspective our world might be today? Does God laugh or cry when God sees the ridiculous, silly and potentially offensive things that we do?

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It can be very easy for us to assume God’s perspective and try to articulate it to anyone who will hear. Maybe we’re right. And maybe, we’re way off base from what God would say.

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I know this post began with just some pictures that our grandkids took over the weekend. But maybe in these simple photos, there is a lesson for us. Opportunity for us to ponder. Reasons to ruminate.

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Perspective. There’s a lot to discover here. If we only stop and think about some one else’s perspective than our own.

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For different perspectives around me, I am grateful.

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Almighty God – thank you for the simplest shift of perspective when I see through the lenses of a little person. May we be just a bit more tolerant of someone else’s perspective today. Help me see that my perspective may not be the only “right” perspective. And Holy God, may I not be completely frustrated when someone else’s perspective challenges me. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

All pictures taken by our grankids. No cropping or editting. Just their perspective.

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Gratitude Day 193 – Happy B-day to Hubby Rick

Fri., Jan. 11, 2019

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

Today is a big day in our household. One of us turns a significant age; one that begins with a 6 and ends with a 5.

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This would be the person I lovingly refer to as Hubby Rick.

Would you humor me as I take a quick spin down memory lane? And share why this guy means so much to me?

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Thanks for humoring me.

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Rick and I met in the most unusual of places: while I was interviewing for my first church appointment as a pastor. I was meeting with the leadership from the two potential churches I would be serving. At the time, Rick was the Ad Council chair for one of the churches. Also present at the meeting? My future in-laws.

Dating for a pastor is a little more complicated than “normal” dating. Dating someone from a congregation that you are serving is emphatically not suggested. It’s like dating your boss. When it became clear that we wanted to consider dating, Rick and I jumped through many, many hoops to do things we felt were the “right” way. Seriously, most of the recommendations would have been enough to send any guy packing. But then again, Rick wasn’t just any guy.

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From the get-go, we knew that we didn’t have to get married. We chose to be married. There is a HUGE difference, folks. With this as the basis of our relationship, the option of not being married to each other is off limits. We choose to challenge ourselves to add value and joy to each other’s lives. In choosing to do this thing called marriage, this would be something we would do until one of us wasn’t here on earth. Period.

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To say that Rick has brought significant joy to my life would be an understatement. While dating, we both did a Myers-Briggs personality test. In all four areas, we were exact opposites. I am peanut butter and he is jelly. I am ying and he is my yang. I am trying to save the world and he’s just trying to keep up. Being opposites means we rarely have boring days. We just have to learn to navigate from completely different points of view.

Yet, we have made it work. Over time, we have modified and adopted a bit more of each other’s personalities. Most days, he still surprises me with a response or reaction I could not anticipate. I know there have been way too many times I have made fun of him, our difference in age and taken advantage of him in my writings and messages. He has graciously accepted this role, more so than I would have. In the process, he teaches the teacher another valuable lesson.

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While I have always felt supported and encouraged to follow my dreams, Rick’s commitment to me the past 13 months has made me love and appreciate him even more. When I shared with him that I wanted to step back from pastoral ministry and pursue other things I felt God calling me towards, he didn’t hesitate. He didn’t flinch. He only encouraged me to follow the leadings of my heart and chase whatever God has in front of me. He didn’t question how this would affect us financially or bemoan that this decision might mean he would delay retirement longer. He gladly accepted his role to support my ministry, in whatever form that looks like, and encourages me to continue this path.

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I have a self-aware husband who knows his faults. There are days when life bogs us down and we struggle. But I never question his commitment to me, our marriage and most importantly, faith in God.

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What made Rick different from all those other guys? His faith in God and his commitment to my calling and ministry. It’s not easy to live with a person who believes following God’s call in their life precedes everything else. He believes that his call in life is to follow my call. While this may appear to some that he is playing second fiddle, he has the grace to see it quite differently. When we commit to our faith first, the rest falls into place.

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There are so many qualities and traits that I admire about this man. But his faith in God is always at the top of the list. It’s what has kept him grounded for most of his 65 years. I know this will be what keeps him going for every day forward.

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“Come, on! We can move this tree!”

For the presence of a Godly and faith-filled man in my life, I am grateful.

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Lord God – when you lay out our life’s plans, I believe you give us many choices. Thanks for bringing into my life a man who strives to be a servant disciple. May you bless him on this special day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 192 – Patience

Thurs., Jan. 10, 2019

Job 21:4 – Are my complaints against another human; why is my patience short?

I have a standing weekly appointment with a 5th grader. His name is Isaac. On Wednesday mornings, Isaac and I spent about 45 minutes together. At least part of the time together, we work on some project related to Isaac’s schooling: math, writing or reading. Lately, we have been working through a cursive book.

This week, we reviewed a couple stories that Isaac had written. His teacher encourages creative writing. She had shared with Isaac that I like to write. So often, we review Isaac’s writing.

Of course, Isaac is most interested in me reading his story. Unfortunately, I divert to looking for spelling errors, run-on sentences or wrong punctuation. Like many people, Isaac writes exactly like he speaks. Sentences contain multiple thoughts and are one long mess of multiple thoughts strung together with adverbs and conjunctions.

Isaac’s teacher suggested we review one story in particular and see if there were any corrections we could make. This is a story we had looked at last week and I knew there were some improvements to be made. I also knew that it is very difficult for Isaac to accept suggestions about ways to improve his story.

As we walked through the story and I encouraged Isaac to look for misspelled words and endless sentences, it didn’t take long for Isaac’s patience to be tested. With each new suggestion, his response to me became sharper and shorter. Normally, Isaac is very positive with me. Behavior I seldom see, but is more common with school faculty, began to boil up.

Patience1.jpgWhile Isaac was not displaying patience, I decided my best response was to address it in a quiet, non-threatening tone, mustering up all the patience I could.

As soon as I question Isaac’s tone, he quickly became defeated. But … he kept his emotions in check. We talked through it and the rest of our time together was more positive.

Oh, it would have been so easy to lose my patience with Isaac. Unfortunately, I think this is the response Isaac most often expects from other people. When he gets a different response, he doesn’t know how to respond.

Why do we loose patience? Why do we seemingly have more patience on some days than others? Why can I have so much patience with some people … and very little with others?

Because we are human. Possibly, we expect to have less patience with some people and this becomes our reaction. Maybe some people just push our buttons more. For those who have been gifted with extra-ordinary amounts of patience, I bless and respect you.

When I really loose my patience, I immediately regret it. And promise me to “not let this happen again.” Alias, it always does.

How might we equip ourselves with more patience? Appreciate all the patience God has granted us. Acknowledge God’s endless bucket of patience that God covers us with. Encourage ourselves not to respond how others expect us … but choose to respond in a way which models care, grace and love.

Let’s also commit to pray for people, like Isaac’s teacher, Mrs. Wentz, who must have endless amounts of patience every day. She’s dealing with a lot of 5th graders for more than 45 minutes.

For the opportunity to embrace patience, I am grateful.

Holy God – I can’t imagine the amount of patience you have embodied with me, let alone all the others around me. May your Spirit encourage me to extend extra patience in just the right moments. May we discover appropriate ways to respond in potentially challenging times when it would be so easy to lose our patience. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 191 – Forced Sabbath

Wed., Jan. 9, 2019

John 11:4 – When he heard this, Jesus said, “This illness isn’t fatal. It’s for the glory of God so that God’s Son can be glorified through it.”

Some days … or weeks … just don’t turn out as anticipated.

On Sunday night, I sat down to plan the week. I was so excited! There seemed more “space” this week. More time to work on things I have just been waiting to do. This would be the week I would get things organized for 2019!

And then, Monday morning happened.

I went to my part-time job, as planned. It’s almost an hour drive. Enroute, I just didn’t feel right. I was tired. I became nauseous. I’m the type of person who usually “bucks up,” so I willed myself to “just get through the day.”

About an hour later, my buck-up attitude was highly diminished. Feeling like I could vomit any minute, I looked at my to-do list. What MUST I get done today? I would focus on these items.

By the end of the next hour, I realized that I was accomplishing very little. How would I get home if I really got ill at work, knowing it is nearly an hour drive? My boss had been out the previous week a couple days ill. He was empathic. I decided to go home.

bedstan

For the next 24 hours, I spent over 23 of them in bed. Before Hubby Rick left for work, he suggested I move to a room with a TV, so I could watch a couple episodes of my favorite shows. I couldn’t even fathom this. I could only keep myself wrapped up in the electric blanket that is on our bed, trying to keep the chills away. After some texting with my friend, Lisa, who also happens to be a nurse, I knew that I needed to get some liquids in me. My attempt is the photo of my nightstand.

I know none of you need or want to hear about my latest bout of the flu. This isn’t what this blog is about. At some point, I realized that sometimes, our bodies know us better than we know ourselves. Sometimes, they want or even need to just shut down for a bit and be. Simply be.

Yes, it would be are agreeable for most of us if this happened in a way other than the flu. Unfortunately, most of us won’t allow ourselves this opportunity. Maybe our bodies take things into their own hands and force us into a little Sabbath time, whether we want it or not?

There was very little I wanted to do while in bed. Even reading, something that normally I look forward to, didn’t make the list. All I could do was rest, sleep, drink some fluids and pray. And repeat. And repeat.

No, I didn’t make out a fabulous list of goals for 2019. Or plan our next vacation. I could only curl up in my favorite position in bed and try to keep the flu symptoms at bay.

So what I could do? Appreciate that normally, I can do physically whatever I want. Feel blessed that I haven’t had a day or two like this in maybe 10 years. (Yes, I’ve had a few days where I haven’t felt great. But nothing like this where I really couldn’t do anything but lay in bed.) Count my blessings that I am a very healthy person who has no significant health issues. Pray for those who struggle with their health EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Would have I preferred to do so other things during this forced Sabbath? You bet. Do I have a greater appreciation for those many things I take for granted every day? You bet. Will I try to be thankful for the littlest things in life today? I sure hope so.

As anticipated, 48 hours later I am feeling much, much better. Rather than seeing these two days as “lost” days, I pray that I recall this forced Sabbath as a little blessing in my life this week. Yes, I have had moments when I feel frustrated that some things, I planned to do this week will get pushed to later. But it’s OK. A little Sabbath is worth it.

For unexpected Sabbath and time to just be, I am grateful.

Almighty God – how thankful I am for my health. How thankful I am that on most days, I can do whatever I wish physically.  I lift up those who struggle physically every day. May I be more gracious towards them. Thank you for this small gift of Sabbath this week, even if it came packed very differently from what I would have preferred. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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