Be Six Again

Gratitude Day 302

Mon., July 15, 2019

Ecclesiastes 7:3 – Choose sorrow over laughter because a sad face may hide a happy heart.

Hubby Rick has a daily goal which is really very simple but rather profound: make someone laugh each day.

Or at least smile.

On most days, he bats 100%.

Often, I’m the one whom he works his magic on.

And I am so thankful for this.

I’m too serious. I make lists. I like to check things off of lists. I like to plan. I like to know what I’m going to be doing today before, well, noon.

Rick is anything but these things.

He loves to make light of things. He flies by the seat of his pants. What he gets done today is a joy. And why plan tonight when we need to see what the weather will be like tomorrow.

Truth be known? He is a lot more fun to be around.

And I am so thankful for this.

I’m the grandparent who disciplines. I’m the grandparent who sets boundaries. I’m the grandparent who makes sure we are fed, hydrated and on time.

Hubby Rick? Well, he’s the fun grandparent. The one whose very name or presence brings a smile and joy to their hearts. He’s the one who the neighbors stop by to see what he’s up to because, well, with Rick, you just never know. There’s always a surprise lurking just around the corner, waiting to be exposed and laughed over. 

And I am so thankful for this.

Somehow, the man never really stopped being six.

Don’t get me wrong. He works hard, plays hard and has an endless amount of ideas and ways to do things. But he also makes sure that whatever job is at hand is done with just a bit of lightness. Fun. Laughter.

And I am so thankful for this.

Today, discover every possibility you can to bring joy and laughter to someone’s day. Not unnecessary or fake laughter. But true, honest-to-goodness reasons to laugh and smile and extend joy.

That’s all. Nothing more. Just some good old laughter.

And then, at the end of the day … see how it feels. Recall how it felt.

Be six again.  

Be thankful for this.

For the gift of laughter and those who love to make it part of their ordinary, everyday living, I am grateful.

Dear God – thank you for the gift of humor and laughter. May we intentionally discover and live joy and laughter every day. Yes, there are days when maybe it’s hard to find joy and happiness. But may knowing You bring a smile to our faces and joy to the day. Help us be six again. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Lessons from Reroofing a House

Gratitude Day 301

Sat., July 13, 2019

Numbers 16:3  – and Aaron and said, “Why do you think you’re so much better than anyone else? We’re part of the Lord’s holy people, and he’s with all of us. What makes you think you’re the only ones in charge?”

It was a sight to be seen. Ten Amish men replacing the roof on the house just down the street.

Hubby Rick and I live in a Jamieson house that was built in 1906. The original Jamieson house is on the end of the block and across the street from our house. This original 6,000 square foot house makes our 3,000 square foot house look like a shack. Just like our house needed some loving when we moved into it, the original Jamieson house was also in need someone who could love it back.

The original Jamieson house has lived multiple lives. It was a restaurant, a bed and breakfast, a single dwelling house and probably some others. When Mason and Alex bought it about two years ago, it had been on the market for a while. While everyone loves the Jamieson house, the new owners would be taking on a significant project.

And so, Mason and Alex have been working away at this ginormous house. Today, when I looked out our door, this is what I saw:

A group of Amish men working together to replace the large roof. And they did it in one day.

Who are the Amish? A group of people who have purposely chosen to live a simple life. They do not drive cars, have electricity nor use rubber tires. Some sects allow phones for business purposes, but the general rule has been no phones as well.

In Wisconsin, there are a variety of Amish communities. When I was in middle school, about 100 Amish families moved into the area where I grew up. There was a milk co-op that still accepted can milk, which greatly influenced the decision. Amish from three other sects moved into the community and brought together new families for future generations.

In Amish territory, you see lots of mailboxes labeled Bontrager, Miller and Stoltzfus. Their white-clobbered houses, simple barns and corral of horses are easy to pick out. When my Dad was alive, he befriended many Amish. When someone wanted to interview or visit the Amish, a good entry point was through my Dad because the Amish trusted my Dad.

Where Rick and I don’t live in an Amish community. They live about 20-30 miles away. Today, many Amish make their living in construction, roofing, woodworking and other non-farm occupations.

Was I surprised to see a group of Amish men on Mason and Alex’s roof? Absolutely not. With their dark pants and suspenders, straw hats and light-colored shirts, it’s easy to distinguish them.

Sometimes, non-Amish people cannot understand Amish choices. They use a phone or lift for business … but not own it. They hire people to drive them … but will not own a vehicle. The stock trailer in front of Mason’s and Alex’s house? Used to move their tools … without a horse.

While Amish beliefs are different from mine, some values I admire. Their commitment to family is amazing. It’s not uncommon for Amish from other communities to travel great distances when a new barn needs to be built … in just a couple days. They are fiercely loyal within their sects and hold each other accountable to the highest degree possible.

They are committed to their faith, values and belief structure. No. Questions. Asked. They carefully do not draw attention to themselves nor their community. Humble, selfless and simple are as much a part of them as their skin.

Whether we embrace their belief structure or not, we can appreciate and commend them for consistently following their beliefs. When in college, I asked my Dad to take me to an Amish farm so I could interview them for a school paper. As I sat at their long kitchen table in a very simple house, I asked this couple close to my age the same question in multiple ways. “How do you live without the modern conveniences non-Amish people consider essential?” The answer was always the same: “We don’t really know what we do not have and what we are missing out.”

The Amish remind us of a simpler time. One filled with fewer distractions, more commitment to helping each other and supporting our community. We like to think and say we do these things today. While we do, our approaches often pale in comparison to the Amish communities.

The Amish know they aren’t perfect. They are keenly aware that they need God’s grace. While we live our lives differently from the Amish, I pray we can appreciate parts of their values and lifestyle. Thank you to the 10 Amish men who reminded me of this today, while reroofing the original Jamieson house down the street.

For a gentle reminder to remain committed to my community, family and faith, I am grateful.

Almighty God – while we often want to point out how Christian groups are different from each other; I pray we value and appreciate how we are the same. Thanks for this reminder of community and commitment to their faith today … all while a group of guys reroofed a house. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Filling Your Soul

Gratitude Day 300

Fri., July 12, 2019

Psalm 143:6  – Then I lift my hands in prayer, because my soul is a desert, thirsty for water from you.

Some days we just need, well, a little soul filling.

Thursday was one of those days for me.

This is Sauk County Fair week. Grandson Waylan exhibited beef cattle yesterday. We spent most of the day watching the beef show. Waylan loves the fair … just like I did as a kid. And he loved showing animals.

I grew up showing animals … just not beef animals. Our family showed dairy and my sisters and I showed sheep. Preparing to exhibit projects at the fair, no matter what the project, teaches great life skills. Kids have the opportunity to learn, discover new things, commit to something, finish something they started, and experience the fact that not everyone can win first place all the time. I fondly remember days of exhibiting at fairs. As we ate lunch with Rick’s sister, Linda and Rick recalled their 4-H fair days and how this was the highlight of their summer.

Hubby Rick and I took in most of the other exhibits. Rick’s favorite barn? The chickens, rabbits and ducks. By then, grandson Dylan was tagging along with us. When Dylan was invited to “pet” a pig, of course, he convinced Grandpa to join the fun.

Once home, Rick and I both had a few things we wanted to do. After Rick finished mowing lawn, he started a fire in the back yard and sat on one of the swings. Yes, there were other things I could have done. But sometimes, I need to take my own advice. Let those things wait. Take in the moment to be present with my spouse. Watch the fireflies come out at dusk. And drink a glass of peach iced tea.

And so, I did.

Best time of the week.

Yes, there are lots of other things we COULD have done today. We COULD have scurried home after the beef show, and I COULD have done some work.

But we DIDN’T.

Instead, I had wonderful conversations with people I haven’t seen at the fair for a long time. We looked at every pig and silkie chicken and ate food from the 4-H food stand.

Once home, I COULD have tried to do a whole bunch on things … but I DIDN’T. I sat with my husband and watched the fire and fireflies and remembered how truly blessed we are.

If your soul is feeling a little tired or dry or exhausted, slow down. Take a few minutes or hours or a whole day and feed it with things that remind you how truly blessed you are. No matter what is happening in your life today, there remain thousands of things to be thankful for. I pray you stop long enough to count a few hundred of them.

For days that allow for my soul to feel full, I am grateful.

Holy God – too often we fly through days, not counting the minutes and seconds and only focusing on crossing off as many to-do items on our lists as possible. Or we think we “must” do something to stay ahead of the game. Forgive us for the times when we are so busy living our lives that we fail to see what is most important in our lives. Thank you for a day filled with quiet, strong reminders of how blessed I am. Thank you for truly filling my soul. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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It’s All in the Pronunciation

Gratitude Day 299

Thurs., July 11, 2019

Acts 27:5, 7a, 8  – When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.  

After Hubby Rick and I were married, we lived in Baraboo, WI. One time, one of our brother-in-law’s asked us, “What’s the deal with this town called Ma-ZOM-o-nee?”

It took about 1.5 seconds and Hubby Rick and I realized he was talking about MAY-zo-may-nee.

It’s all about the pronunciation. Just a few years later, our zip code was non-other than 53560, for Mazomanie.

ithaca road sign on a blue sky background

Once, I was asked if I knew where I-THA-KA is. It took me a couple seconds to realize they were asking about ITH-a-ka.

Growing up, our family lived about 20 miles from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. For years, every spring when the UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team played in the NCAA Division 3 finals, the announcers produced the team as the U-Claire Bluegolds.  Could SOMEONE help them get the pronunciation correct? Please?

About 20 years ago, the Madison, WI daily paper, The State Journal, printed the funniest story on the front page. It listed all the names of Wisconsin towns that many non-Wisconsinites can not pronounce correctly. Top of the list? Mazomanie. Where Hubby Rick and I were living at the time.

Let’s see how many of these you know:

Oconomowoc

Weyauwega

Minocqua

Wauwatosa

Ashwaubenon

Here’s the correct pronunciation:

O-CON-no-mo-walk

WHY-a-we-ga

MI-na-kwa

WOW-a-to-sa

ASH-wa-bo-nan

If you’ve spent any amount of time reading the Bible, you soon run across names that are nearly impossible to pronounce. Some are people’s names. Some are names of towns. Believe me … we’ve all stumbled through many of these names.

A couple years ago, Hubby Rick was the lay liturgist one Sunday morning. One role for this person is to read scripture during worship. I dutifully ran off the script for Rick the night before and laid it on the coffee table for him to review. After reading it and discovering the names of a whole bunch of towns he had no clue how to pronounce, he said to me, “Seriously. THIS is the scripture for tomorrow? There was no other scripture you could have chosen?”

Nope.

The next day, Rick stood at the lectern. He read something like this: When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Baraboo and Reedsburg, we landed at Madison in Wisconsin. We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Janesville. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Arlington, opposite DeForest. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Sun Prairie.  

By the second line, the entire congregation was chuckling along as Rick read, replacing the biblical towns with names of nearby towns and cities everyone knew and had been to. Somehow, this scripture seemed to make more sense to everyone sitting in a pew that day.

As a pastor, I have butchered more than my fair share of names. This is why I haven’t said the last names of family members while reading the obituary at a funeral in years. I KNOW I will pronounce a name wrong. So, I stick just to first names.

Here’s the deal. No matter who says your name or your hometown wrong, God STILL. KNOWS. WHO. YOU. ARE. There’s no doubt in God’s being what the correct pronunciation of your name is, where you call home and how you prefer your hometown to be said. In fact, God knows every last detail of your life, even more so than you do. And somehow, God knows this about everyone you do and don’t know. How God does this is way beyond me. I just relish that somehow, someway, it happens.

Thanks be to God.

Thanks, God for knowing my name, where I live and how to pronounce it all.

For God’s unending knowledge of everything, I am grateful.

Dear God – Yes, we stumble through names of people and names of cities and sometimes, even names of countries. You see beyond the words and know our hearts and souls. Thanks be to You, O God. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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A Little Historical Story

Gratitude Day 298

Wed., July 10, 2019

Luke 21:29  – Then Jesus told them a story: When you see a fig tree or any other tree …

I love a good story. I love to tell them, discover them and share them.

Over the weekend, Hubby Rick and I discovered a new story. And we’ve been telling others about it.

We discovered this story in Lake Geneva, WI. Over time, we’ve been visiting the various official Wisconsin historical sites. There happens to be one in Lake Geneva that we had not been to, so, we made a trip to see Black Point Estate and Gardens.  

We were not disappointed. Built in the 1870’s, this Queen Anne Victorian house was built by Chicago beer baron Conrad Siepp. He started building on the property before the great Chicago fire in 1871, as did other wealthy folks from Chicago. For families who lost their homes and businesses during the fire, many of them lived in their summer homes in Lake Geneva while Chicago was rebuilt.

The Siepp family lost neither their Chicago home nor business. As one of the few beer businesses still in existence after the fire, the Siepp family’s resources only expanded.

Black Point remained in the Siepp family until 2005 when it was given to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Today, a couple Siepp family relatives still have homes very close to the original Black Point, which demonstrates how this area is part of their story.

To visit the home, visitors must travel by boat to the property and then climb 120 steps from the shoreline up to the home. On our way to the estates, our boat driver/tour guide shared lots of stories about other homes on the lake.

As docents took us through Black Point, they shared stories and history and amusing tidbits about the family and their lifestyle. They painted a picture story for us to hear and see.

As Christians, we also have a story. We have our personal faith story. The church has a faith story. All of these stories are rooted in God’s story, which is where our story begins. Fortunately, a book provides us with this story, our history and amusing tidbits about our religious ancestors. This book, the Bible, provides us the story of Jesus and how his redeeming work makes a difference for each of us.

It’s important that we know this story. No, we can’t remember all of the story nor all the specific details. I pray we engage with the story on a regular basis because … it is OUR story. It’s OUR history. It’s OUR connection to God, who orchestrated the story.

Yes, the story can be confusing. Our perspective of the story may not be like someone else’s perspective … and that’s OK. What I do hope is that we make this story personal and meaningful for us.

Maybe it’s because I love old homes and live in one myself. Maybe it’s because I could imagine family members being and living in this home. Maybe it’s because the docent knew family members and could share personal experiences. What I do know is that the story of Black Point became very real and interesting for me.

Is the story we find in the Bible real for us? It is interesting enough that we keep returning to it so we can discover and rediscover it anew? Do we see how we fit into the story, which personalizes the story even further for us?

 Throughout his ministry, Jesus told story after story to the people he was with. Why? Because he to, loved a good story. He knew a story would draw people in. A story brings things to life and helps us see ourselves within the context.

Do you see yourself in God’s story? Have you made it personal? Will God’s story, and your role in this story, amaze you today?

For the gift of stories, I am grateful.

Dear God – thank you for providing us with a copy of Your story. Help us see ourselves in Your story. May we make it personal for ourselves this very day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Today Is …

Gratitude Day 297

Mon., July 8, 2019

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Please read the quote in the photo one more time.

Do you get it? Today is a special day. It’s today. And that is ENOUGH.

Too often, I try to jam-pack my days. I want to accomplish more and do more and fill the entire day of things that I want to cross off my to-do list. When this happens, I forget that I didn’t create today. God did.

Yep. Today isn’t my gift to anyone. It’s God’s gift to all of us.

Today is also called the present … because it’s truly a gift. Maybe it doesn’t arrive with a bow on top or in gorgeous wrapping paper. But the present is such a special gift I pray we celebrate it for what it is.

How do we often treat today?

Like it’s not enough.

Or I didn’t accomplish enough.

Maybe something unexpected creep into today and seemed to ruin the rest of the day.

Or take away from what initially was planned.

But today is still a gift. A present.

How will you treat today?

For the gift of today, I am grateful.

Jesus – thank you for today. The most special of days. Help me treasure every minute. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Holiday Weekend

Gratitude Day 296

Sat., July 6, 2019

Hebrews 4:9 – But God has promised us a Sabbath when we will rest, even though it has not yet come.

Summer has arrived in Wisconsin.

Lots of warm, humid days in a row.

And Hubby Rick loves them all.

I’m not crazy about sweat pouring off my face.

Rick loves it.

I prefer waking up in the morning and not wondering how I can keep our non-air conditioned house cool. Yep, you read this right. As lovely as our house is, it has hot water heat. And no air conditioning.

Rick doesn’t mind at all.

When it was 85 degrees in our upstairs on Friday, Rick said to me, “I love the summer.”

Summer is OK. Just not 85 degrees in my office.

It’s a holiday weekend and lots of people are taking advantage of a four-day weekend. We enjoyed a lovely 4th of July, worked Friday and plan to play today.

Here’s what I’m noticing lately: when it’s really warm, I need a little more downtime. A little less busyness. A bit more less activity.

More water. Less doing.

Maybe, this is God’s little way of saying, “Dianne, let’s just take a wee bit more sabbath these days.”

I pray that I can listen.

How about you? How do you deal with a little bit more and humid? How does your body respond? Any messages you are hearing from God lately?

For long weekends and opportunities to rest, relax and recharge, I am grateful.

Holy God – Help me see that more busyness is not always better. Help me find true rest in You. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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It’s a Grand Old Flag

Gratitude Day 2945

Thurs., July 4, 2019

1 Peter 2:16  – You are free, but still you are God’s servants, and you must not use your freedom as an excuse for doing wrong.

As this flag moves by the breeze floating through our front porch, I often think of these words:

You’re a grand old flag
You’re a high-flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave
You’re the emblem of
The land I love
The home of the free and the brave
Ev’ry heart beats true
Under red, white and blue
Where there’s never a boast or brag

Today, we celebrate freedom. Choice. The opportunity to live in a place where we can have differences of opinion. Where more than one voice is encouraged and allowed.

Today, is the day we celebrate all things freedom. How will you celebrate?

Hubby Rick and I will be attending the Witwen 4th of July Parade, like we have for nearly all of the last 19 years. We’ll watch the living flag, a group of women wearing robes that form a flag, lead the parade. After we’ve watched floats and antique cars and old tractors roll down warm asphalt, we’ll indulge in chicken BBQ that was grilled by a group of people who started the coals at dawn and continued to roast several thousand halves of chicken throughout the morning.

We’ll see people we haven’t seen for months and sit at old wooden plank tables that have been used for 4th of July celebrations for over 100 years. In the afternoon, kids of all ages will participate in old-fashioned games like the water balloon toss and a three-legged race. Every half-hour, a different person will sit in the dunk tank. Those ready to try-out their baseball skills will buy 3 balls for $1 and try to hit the paddle which releases a sit inside the tank which then quickly lowers the person into a tub of water.

For over 100 years, thousands of people have gathered in Witwen and participated in many of these same events. It’s a little step back into history and a recollection of how 4th of July’s have been celebrated for many, many decades. People deck themselves out in everything red, white and blue. Flag wagging abounds. Every stands and men remove their hats when the flags walk by. And for several hours on one day each year, we celebrate everything freedom.

Freedom to speak. Freedom to write. Freedom to worship. Yes, this means that views other than our own are accepted and allowed. I pray we see this as an opportunity for wider views and more growth, recognizing that God does and will speak through lots and lots of people.

As much as I love and appreciate this freedom, I am also keenly aware of another freedom I celebrate freedom in Christ. This freedom means I accept other’s views who may be different from mine as valid and possible. Freedom in Christ challenges me to try and see the world from the eternal and heavenly vantage point that God has, which is so much different from my narrow and judgmental view. Freedom means I listen and learn from others and graciously share how I might view the word just a hare bit different, without degrading their view.

Whether your day will include a parade, a picnic and/or firework, let’s be just a bit more accepting today. Christ accepts us just the way we are; warts and all. Can we do the same of others?

For so much freedom in Christ, I am grateful.

Holy God – the freedom you extend us is so much greater than we can ever imagine. May we treasure this freedom today and all days. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Who Are Your People?

Gratitude Day 295

Wed, July 3, 2019

Matthew 16:13-16  – When Jesus and his disciples were near the town of Caesarea Philippi, he asked them, “What do people say about the Son of Man?”  The disciples answered, “Some people say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijahor Jeremiah or some other prophet.” Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter spoke up, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

In the past few weeks, I have attended a variety of functions where I received a name badge or a button to wear. These indicated that I was part of the group. That I belonged there. I was one of “them.”

Each time, I put one of these id badges on, I thought to myself, “Are these my people? Am I really one of them?”

We are identified many ways. We wear many hats. We can have multiple titles.

Spouse.

Parent.

Grandparent.

Employee.

Sibling.

Friend.

Co-worker.

Member.

Associate.

Intern.

Officer.

Volunteer.

Aunt or Uncle.

Cousin.

Acquaintance.

Our last name.

A maiden name.

All of these “titles” have value and meaning. Do they define “who” you are? “What” you do? “What” is important to you?

They may or may not.

Think of your name. Who gave it to you? Why was it chosen for you? Does it have significance or meaning? What does your name mean?

Your name is one of those few self-identifying items that helps declare you as yourself. While your name creates your identity, how else is your identity created? What is your identity? How did you get it?

We can be identified in multiple ways. Honestly, I’ve rediscovered this the last number of weeks. I can be “part” of this particular group … but do I feel like these are my people? I may … or I may not.

It is very easy to blur our identities with our positions. I may be identified as “Rick’s wife” or “Debbie’s sister” or “Ron’s employee.” While these are all true and important, is this identity the most important identity of my life?

No, they don’t. Yes, they are all important, as well as a bunch of others. But in the end, there is only one identity that is truly important:

Beloved Child of God.

This is the identity that I most want to be remembered for. This is the “group” that are my people. These peeps are the ones I pray I have an underlying commonality that is the most important way I see and identify myself.

Jesus asked the disciples what his identity was one day. They blurted out the various way’s others had identified who he was. But to help them see the answer he was looking for, he asked who they thought he was. Simon Peter gives the answer Jesus hopes he will hear: “The Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Well done, Peter.

I pray when we identify ourselves, we don’t forget whose we are. This is our most basic identity and one Jesus wants us to claim for ourselves.

All those other groups and identities? Yep, they are important. May we first see ourselves first identified by our spot in God’s family. This is truly the most important way we should id ourselves; for our sake and for others.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Reflections on June

Gratitude Day 294

Tues., July 2, 2019

Acts 24:23 

He then ordered the army officer to keep Paul under guard, but not to lock him up or to stop his friends from helping him.

Remember the days when we used to write checks to pay our bills? At the beginning of a new month, it was sometimes a challenge to remember to write the new month in the date area on the check.

Or in the early days of January, it’s so natural to keep writing last year’s number in the date field of the check.

I feel like I want to still be writing “June” in the date field when we are already into “July.” I feel like it was just a few days ago that I flipped my paper calendar over to June. (Yes, I STILL use a paper calendar. I know. It’s so 2000.) And now, it’s time to switch to July …

Where did June go? And May? (As much as I dislike these platitudes, I’m using them here.)

In light of the month flying by, what are some lessons I learned in June? Glad you asked.

  • There are periods of our lives that just get very full. Going into June, I knew that the month was very full. There simply were no days on the entire month’s calendar that were empty. Every day had too many things. When we find ourselves in a period when there are more things going one, we can do a couple things. First, learn to say, “No.” Obviously, I fail at this miserably. BUT I am determined to try and put that word back into my vocabulary. If you feel like me that the days and nights are filled with really, well “good” things, you still need space for down time. To re-group. To recharge your batteries. Ideally, a little space for this every day is best. If this seems challenging, then schedule some personal “Sabbath” time weekly, even if only for 30-60 minutes. Our souls need quiet. Peace. No activity. We cannot be constant human doings. We also need to be human beings.
  • When these periods exist in your life, please also make sure your loved ones know they are important to you as well. Too often, Hubby Rick gets my leftovers. And yes, he casually mentioned it recently. This is why going to do something he wanted to do was SO. IMPORTANT. Our loved ones will think, rightfully so, that everyone is more important than they are if we fill our schedules with everything but them. When a loved one says they want time with you, LISTEN. IMMEDIATELY. Ask that they pick something they would like to do with you and gladly say, “Yes” whether it’s your first pick or not. JUST. DO. IT.
  • In light of the various activities that I participated in during June, it was fun to see some people that I haven’t seen for years. Participate in activities or groups that I have not a part of for years. Establish new relationships with people or re-establish relationships with folks. Time with these people is SO VALUABLE. When we can’t do it all, there are times when we set aside something for a season. What’s great is when we can reconnect or reenter this situation quickly, even if we’ve been away for a while.

Today, I have a window of time where I plan to look over my July schedule and make some goals and plans. Thankfully, the daily boxes are not nearly as full. Yeah! I want to plan some fun summer things to do, as well as goals for my work and personal life. Failing to make goals and plans means some things will not rise to the top of your priority list. And this is OK. But if there is something you really want to peck away at, it will not happen without advance planning.

I do hope for spontaneous bike rides with Hubby Rick, getting the kayaks into the water with more than grandkids in them and laying on the swings, reading a book or just being with Rick. This is also an important aspect of summer.

Take five minutes. Quickly look or think back to June. What is something you are pleased with that happened? What had you hoped to do … and didn’t even attempt? Now, look at your July calendar. Block off periods of time to work at something really important to you. Yes, things come up. Sometimes, those blocks will get filled with something else … but only if you allow it. With no blocks set aside for a project, how likely is it that you will make progress on something? Very low.

And then, expect God to show up and assist you in moving towards your plans. Possibly, God might have a few other plans for you as well. This might be the most exciting thing of all!

Have a great July!

For opportunities to reflect backwards and forwards, I am grateful.

Holy God – Daily, I pray that you come into my life and make a different. Daily, I pray that I take you along for the ride. Daily, I turn to You for guidance an wisdom. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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