When God Shows Up

Gratitude Day 361

Wed., Nov. 13, 2019

Psalm 46:10: That’s enough! Now know that I am God! I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!

It is AMAZING how God shows up.

If we only stop and see it.

When Hubby Rick and I went to worship on Sunday, I was distracted. I wasn’t focused. In fact, I almost suggested that we stay home and watch a worship service on the internet.

It was one of the rare Sundays when I did not have a commitment of participating in worship. We could choose to worship wherever we wanted. Basically, our choice came down to going to a late service and in a location where I could run an errand afterwards.

We arrived just as worship was beginning. I knew this was a more traditional service, which, quite honestly, is not our first choice. But our butts were in the pew and we were there to worship.

Early on in the worship service, I was drawn in by the beautiful piano music. It was a baby grand piano. When Hubby Rick mentions how beautiful the piano sounds, I know it is true.

Then, it was time for the adult choir to sing. I knew it would be a more traditional selection. The music started quiet. Soft, in fact.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

I’ve heard these words a thousand times. I have said them to others countless times. But this time? They were being said directly to me. For me. For my benefit.

Be still and know that I am God.

Yep, that’s you, Dianne. Just be still. Slow. Down. Pause. Listen. Know I am with you.

Today is Wednesday. It has become a day that I often write about prayer. Need I remind you, and me, that prayer happens in many different ways. Yes, it is most often the words we say to God; whether privately or with others.

Prayer can also be a verse of scripture.

It can also be words in a song.

Thanks for showing God in worship. Like I ever doubted that You would be there? I just needed to show up and hear You speak to me. Pray with me. Pray over me.

Thanks, God. You never cease to amaze me. You ALWAYS show up.

For God’s prayer through music, I am grateful. 

Lord God – Forgive me for the times when I don’t want to show up. Or want something to happen that will be convenient for me. Thanks for ALWAYS showing up, God. And speaking to me creatively and directly. Help me to listen to and for Your voice.  Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Veteran’s Day

Gratitude Day 360

Mon., Nov. 11, 2019

Psalm 33:20-22: Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

It’s November 11th. This means it is Veteran’s Day.

I ran across this interesting way to remember Veteran’s Day. It’s not unique to me. Yet something I thought was so interesting.

Missing Man Table

This table is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms.

The cloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty.

The single red rose displayed in a vase, reminds us of the lives of these Americans and their loved ones and friends, who keep the faith awaiting answers.

The red ribbon symbolizes our continued uncertainty, hope for their return and determination to account for them.

A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured, and missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families – who long for answers.

The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share this evening’s toast.

The chair is empty – they are missing.

If you know a veteran, take just 30 seconds and thank them today.

Here’s a photo of my favorite vet. It’s my Dad, Richard Deaton. He was a Korean War veteran. And I remember and thank him today.

For appreciation of all of our vets, I am grateful. 

Holy God – Thank you for being our help and shield. And thank you for all the many people who have provided help and shield for the people of our country. May we completely appreciate the various ways they have kept us safe. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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The Second Saturday of November

Gratitude Day 359

Sat., Nov. 9, 2019

Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

The days of peach iced tea are probably over for a while. With winter arriving quick, early and with a presence, I’m thinking hot chocolate will become a more regular drink.

Last night, Rick was curled up on the couch. Have I ever mentioned that he REALLY dislikes winter? Well, he does.

He was covered up in a blanket and informed me that he has no intention of putting the blanket away until April.

Welcome winter.

So, here’s just a few things that have been whirling around in my life these past few days. Maybe something here will inspire you today!

A new Christmas song. Yes, I’ve seen the cartoons about staying in the right lane. October is for Halloween. November is everything Thanksgiving. And then, December welcomes Christmas.

BUT … I ran across a new Christmas song and REALLY want to share it with you. So, if you prefer no Christmas until after Thanksgiving, skip the next portion. If not, read along.

Grammy-winning artist Chris Tomlin released a new Christmas song called “Christmas Day” the beginning of the month. It’s part of a collection of songs that will be released before Christmas. Tomlin says he loves to create new music to worship Jesus.

Here’s the video. Take a listen. Let me know what you think!

If you are looking for an interesting historical fiction book, try The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani. The book starts in the 1910’s in Italy and takes the reader on a journey from Italy to the United States through the eyes of an Italian boy named Chiro. He eventually becomes a shoemaker in the United States and marries a young gal he met back in Italy who is also in the U.S.

The story is historically based on the author’s grandparents who were from Italy and both moved to the U.S. I did not realize this until after listening to the book. At the very end, the author was interviewed, and she shared the book’s connection to her grandparents.

As I listened to her story, I wished that I would have asked my grandparents more about their early history. While I know some things, I know there is much more that I could have learned.

If you know a person who has an interesting story to tell, go and listen to them! Drag it out of them. Do not let their interesting stores die because no one keep them as part of family history.

Some days are just better than others. And this is OK. Recently, I had a day when I felt in a funk. Nothing seemed to work right. All the things I wanted to get done just never quite got finished. I haven’t been sleeping well and was tired.

It just was king of a rotten day. When Hubby Rick made a joke at dinner, her did not receive the response he was looking for.

I really try to be a positive person. But let’s be real. It’s nearly impossible to always put on a happy face.

Reality is so much more honest. Give yourself permission to be OK. Embrace it.  Accept it. And move on. There is no advantage for me to stay stuck in a difficult spot. One bad day is not a pattern. It’s an oops.

I’m confident today will be a better day. I know this because I will make sure it will be a better day. I will be inspired by the many ways I can express gratitude in my life. I know that

For perspective even on yucky days, expected or unexpected, I am grateful. 

Lord God – be patient with me when I’m having a yucky day. On these days, please keep me focused on all the goodness in my life rather than being discouraged by the challenges. May we always know that you are with me. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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What Season Is It??

Gratitude Day 354

Fri., Nov. 8, 2019

Psalm 104:19:  God made the moon for the seasons, and the sun too, which knows when to set.

As I look out my office window, things just don’t seem right.

We’re barely a week into November and there’s a sheet of whiteness everywhere.

Wisconsin Trick-or-Treaters won’t forget Halloween 2019. It’s the first time many of them wore snow boots with the costumes because, well, there was snow.

Even my Christmas cactus is confused. Christmas is something like six weeks away, but her blooms are in full force. Right now. She saw the snow and felt the cold coming through the window to her right and decided, “Well, it MUST be time to bloom.”

So sorry, my friend but your clock sprang ahead instead of falling back.

We live in rural Wisconsin. It’s been a challenging fall for those folks who feed the rest of us. It’s been wet, wet, wet. And now with snow, snow, snow, there is nary a farmer who isn’t frustrated. Thousands and thousands of acres of beans and corn are NOT in storage bins, safe and at the right level of dryness. No, they are shivering in 20-degree temperatures and covered in a pretty, but unhelpful layer of snow.

This leads to cranky farmers. Disappointed families. People trying to hold things together in spite of low prices, crappy weather and burnout. People who need our prayers because they aren’t sure what season it is. Their calendar says one thing, but the great outdoors is playing a different tune.

The beans and corn still in the fields? Makes my blooming Christmas Cactus seem very insignificant.

No matter what “season” of life you are going through, God is with you. When things don’t see to be following the anticipated season, pause. Take a deep breath. Turn your eyes towards the One who never leaves you. And buckle up for another day that may be filled with unexpected situations.

Some unexpected seasons add joy to our hearts. Others make us wonder where God is. No matter what, God IS with YOU.

Hear this again: God IS with YOU.

For God’s presence in every season, expected or unexpected, I am grateful. 

Holy God – It’s a very chilly morning in Poynette, Wisconsin. The snow and cold and late sunrise feel very Januaryish. Please be with all of the farmers who are struggling with unharvested crops. Please be with anyone who is in a season that feels very challenging and difficult. Remind us all day long that You are with Us. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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My Newest Spiritual Gift

Gratitude Day 353

Thurs., Nov. 7, 2019

1 Corinthians 14:40:  But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Can I tell you a little secret?

I’ve discovered a new spiritual gift about myself.

Actually, it’s not new. It’s been hanging around FOREVER. I’m just finally willing to admit something to myself.

In the New Testament, we hear about different spiritual gifts. You know, the things God gifts us with. Special things that God has graced us with an extra dose that we are just a little better at than the average, normal person.

We’re told that we ALL have spiritual gifts. Some people are leaders while others are gifted with teaching. I know some people who are bathed with wisdom and others who are mighty pray warriors and have the gift of intercession; praying on the behalf of someone else. We can quickly identify the people in our lives who are helpers and who has hospitality down to a tee.

Just how many spiritual gifts there varies a bit. Some biblical scholars say 22. Others say less. The truth is there are A LOT of potential spiritual gifts … and we have ALL been blessed with at least a few.

Over the years, I have taken a variety of spiritual gift tests. These are designed to assist people in identifying what spiritual gifts are high on their radar screen. Many of these tests also clarify what spiritual gifts we have not been graced with. These types of tests are especially helpful when building a team or leadership group. It’s best to have people with a variety of gifts. If everyone is a visionary on a team, implementation of all those great ideas will be a problem.  

In all of those spiritual gift tests that I have taken, there is one spiritual gift that I know I have that never shows up: Procrastination.

Yep. There it is. My secret spiritual gift that I have been trying to keep under the radar for YEARS. Well, maybe decades. And sometimes, not so well.

Often, I have labeled my procrastination as “not having enough time.” I justify delaying something because I have not yet been inspired to tackle something. I often convince myself that I truly get more done when I have more things to do. Often, this is true.

Unfortunately, I also have a great track record of pulling things together in the 11th hour. Even if I have utilized my spiritual gift of procrastination, things often come together in the end. Another spiritual gift of mine, making sure everything is just right, conflicts with procrastination. Because I have delayed doing something, making everything error free or just right becomes a bit overwhelming in the end.

I also find a ton of opportunities to assist in procrastination these days. I hop on the internet to look one thing up. And 30 minutes and six websites later, I remember what I intended to look up. A quick look at a social media account that swallows up 20 minutes or reading online news or playing a game on my phone are all wonderful procrastination enablers.

Truthfully, I love order. My heart is at peace when things are in their place. I use a variety of ways that help keep my life somewhat focused. But all the best systems in the world won’t overcome procrastination … unless I choose otherwise.

There are moments when I feel I keep ahead just a little bit. It’s a lovely feeling. So why do I allow myself to let procrastination sweep back into my life?

Because I’m a Christian who needs grace. Daily. No matter how skilled my spiritual gifts may be or how well I try to implement them, I will always be just a little shy of where I’d like to be.

And this, my friends, is where grace steps in. Grace reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect. Or off the charts. I just need to partner with God and appreciate the unique and special ways God has blessed me.

Do I stop working hard? Or trying to kick procrastination to the curb? No.

I know procrastination isn’t really a spiritual gift. It’s more like a thorn in my side that I struggle with. But isn’t it more fun to think of it as a spiritual gift?

Today, I value myself and the ways God has called me to serve. Do. Be. And celebrate all the spiritual gifts God has instilled within me because God loves me. Today, I love myself, procrastination and all.

For embracing ALL of my spiritual gifts, I am grateful. 

Almighty God – thanks for blessing me with special spiritual gifts; ones that I use daily within Your kingdom. May I embrace that I still struggle with parts of my personality. I pray that I see Your grace as enough to help me love myself as much as You love me. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Wednesday Prayer Day

Gratitude Day 352

Wed., Nov. 6, 2019

1 Kings 8:28:  Lord my God, listen to your servant’s prayer and request, and hear the cry and prayer that your servant prays to you today.

It’s Wednesday. This means its prayer day at Simple Words of Faith.

For Hubby Rick and I, we have a person that we know who we have limited contact with right now. Recently, our best means of contact is by sending e-mail messages.

We are trying to encourage this person. We hope our messages bring a bright spot into this person’s life. The person is dealing with some challenges in their live. We pray that we can be an encouragement.

One way we have tried to do this is by including a prayer in our e-mails. We include the person’s name and ask God to watch over this person. We acknowledge that we don’t know all the details of the situation … but God does. It has become a way for us to close our e-mails and turn the situation over to God.

Often, people will say, “I’m praying for you.” Honestly, sometimes I think we do. Other times, I think we say this as a simple platitude. Please, please, please do not tell someone that you are going to pray for them … unless you really intend to do so. If you do not intend to pray for them, just don’t go there.

If you would like a prayer of encouragement at the beginning of your day, please sign up for my free morning prayer text. Those who enroll receive a free prayer text at 7 AM central time. It’s less than 300 characters, so it’s quick and short. I send them out as a way to encourage people to choose to bath their day in prayer. If you would like to receive a morning prayer text, simply text simplewordsoffaith to 33222.

What is something that YOU would like prayers for today? Please let me know. I would love to surround it with prayer.

For community through shared prayer, I am grateful. 

Holy God – may we see prayer as our first resort in turning a situation over to you; and not our last resort. Remind us to only tell people that we are praying for them if we intend to do so. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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The Next Six Months

Gratitude Day 351

Mon., Nov. 4, 2019

Proverbs 25:11:  Words spoken at the right time are like gold apples in a silver setting.

This quote totally hit me.

Six months. The beginning of May. What would you like to be different about your life today and what it could be in six months?

When I think about these types of things, I typically think of these types of things:

Beings 20 pounds lighter

Having saved $X

My house completely organized (whatever that looks like!)

And a few other things.

But as I reflect upon this question right now, I am thinking of slightly different answers. To understand this, I began by looking back at my life and how it looked May 1, 2019. How has it changed since then? What has happened that I didn’t anticipate?

We’ve had a new granddaughter since then.

We finished our master bedroom and closet.

And the personal biggie for me: I am SO CLOSE to being a published author.

Did I expect this to happen six months ago?

Honestly, no.

But it is.

Had I not set a goal for myself in July to publish by Thanksgiving, it would not have happened.

Because of this, I am SO EXCITED to see what happens the next six months.

Yes, I would like to fit into a smaller size pants.

I would like to make a little money off of my book.

And I hope our back storeroom is cleaned out and all things dealt with.

But there are other things that excite me more these days. I’m not completely sure what they are. Or what they will look like. But I’m going to spend some time this week and think about it.

Pray about it.

Write down some big, audacious and hairy goals along with a couple small, exceptional ideas.

And see if they happen.

Everything stays the same unless we decide to do something different.

These words came to me at just the right time. Words that encourage me and spur me towards what might be next.

Will you find a few minutes this week to think and pray about what might be next for you? Rather than just doing the same things and expecting different results, how will you focus your energy, time, gifts and resources?

I’m excited for what can happen to YOU in the next six months. Please keep me posted.

For opportunities that lie ahead of us, I am grateful. 

Dear God – sometimes, it is easier to be safe and guarded and predictable. Can you encourage us to open our well-kept boxes just a bit and begin to explore something new in the next six months? May Your will be very clear to us. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Overflowing Gratitude

Gratitude Day 350

Sat., Nov. 2, 2019

2 Corinthians 4:15:  All these things are for your benefit. As grace increases to benefit more and more people, it will cause gratitude to increase, which results in God’s glory.

As I was beginning this post, I realized that TODAY is the #350th gratitude post that I have done. WOW. This means, I’ve accounted for 350 different ways I’ve found gratitude in the past number of months.

What have I discovered about gratitude? Here’s a few things.

No matter what is going on in your life lately, YOU can ALWAYS find something to be GRATEFUL for. Period. On Friday, three of our grandkids didn’t have school. So, Hubby Rick and I spent the day with them. We did some fun things and had a great day. We were in the car on the way back to their house when something happened between the kids in which the youngest, Dylan, felt very upset. And all the emotions came running out.

I had a quick stop to make. When I got back to the car, it was determined that people would rotate their spots in the car so Grandpa could sit in the very back with Dylan. He talked to Dylan about what had happened and how even though something happened that upset him, he STILL had much to be thankful for. He always has enough food. He has his own room in a nice house. He has people who love him, which Rick shared with him how much he loves him.

The whole conversation was maybe 60 seconds long. Did it completely change Dylan’s attitude? I don’t know. What it did do was refocus Dylan on what he has rather than what he feels he didn’t have.

Quite honestly, I think there are a lot more people than our 7-year-old grandson who could hear this lesson and remember it in their lives. Including me. This is exactly WHY I started focusing on gratitude.

Expressing gratitude should not be a last resort but a first resort. When we feel beat-up in life, it becomes very easy to focus on how we have been wronged. When this happens, we often can only see what we would like different. When we can turn to gratitude first, then it reframes our whole situation. Too often, we think of gratitude only when things are going well. Personally, I think it’s even MORE important to discover and articulate gratitude when nothing seems to be going right.

Small gratitude is just as important as big gratitude. I think we get caught up in the idea that unless we go big with gratitude appreciation, then it isn’t truly gratitude. I completely disagree. Big gratitude can be too easy. When we are clear in expressing gratitude for the smallest and most everyday things, then we develop a deeper appreciation for everything. When we handle small things well, God may offer us more difficult situations. This can overwhelm us, or we can see this as an opportunity to positively affect God’s kingdom. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the size that’s so important to God. It’s our heart.

I plan to keep looking and sharing my personal gratitude experiences because it’s good for my soul. And hopefully, once in a while, my thought resonates with someone else.

What are YOU grateful for today? How do YOU celebrate gratitude in your life daily? How has this affected YOUR life?

For discovering gratitude in so many different ways, I am grateful. 

Holy God – I pray we see gratitude as something that is so very basic in our lives; as much as air and water. Instill within us gratitude in every cell in our bodies. May our appreciation and gratitude inspire and encourage others to do likewise. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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The Trickiness of Mistakes

Gratitude Day 349

The Trick of Mistakes

 

Gratitude Day 349

 

Fri., Nov. 1, 2019

 

Proverbs 14:29:  Patience leads to abundant understanding, but impatience leads to stupid mistakes.

 

It is SO MUCH easier to point out someone else’s mistakes than take responsibility for our own mistakes.

 

Or maybe it’s just me.

 

Hubby Rick and I went to a high school volleyball game last night. Both teams have skill. Both teams had moments when they did very well. Both teams also made mistakes.

 

Missed serves. Illegal formation. Bad hits. Out-of-bounce hits.

 

At the end of the very competitive match, one team lost. One team won, even though both teams made mistakes.

 

When watching any competitive event, there are lots of “arm-chair quarterbacks” in the room. Missed calls. Unfair calls. Wrong choice by a coach. It’s amazing how “right” we can be while sitting in the stands.

 

In any competitive competition, those who advance to playing at high levels usually have one thing in common: they let go of their mistakes quickly. They must, otherwise their performance will be affected.

 

So, how about you? How quickly can you let something go? Do you hang onto things forever and ever? Or, do you quickly move on.

 

Generally speaking, I think I let go of things rather quickly. I do not like to put unnecessary energy into getting bogged down by a mistake that I made. Doing so only draws energy away from other things I need to be focusing on. And leads to more mistakes.

 

But I have my limits. Rick and I were discussing a certain situation. He’s much more forgiving in this instance. Poor repeated previous behavior makes me keep up my guard. I’m more hesitant about overlooking what has happened in the past and thinking there will be different outcomes in the future.

 

I’m trying to be patient and see this through. Be proved wrong in my hesitation to fully embrace.

 

I must be thankful that I know a God who forgives and moves on so quickly. Who bats mistakes away way quicker than I do?

 

One of my mistakes? Not growing in this area enough to trust God. And let go. And be OK with my and other’s mistakes.

 

How quickly can you forgive mistakes? Are there mistakes that you still are hanging onto? Why?

 

For God’s ability to overlook mistakes so much more quickly than I do, I am grateful.

 

Lord God – Your ability to overlook mistakes is so amazing. Your ability to overlook MY mistakes is even more notable. Be patient with me as I continue to grow in this area. Amen.

 

Blessings –

 

Dianne

 

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Fri., Nov. 1, 2019

Proverbs 14:29:  Patience leads to abundant understanding, but impatience leads to stupid mistakes.

It is SO MUCH easier to point out someone else’s mistakes than take responsibility for our own mistakes.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Hubby Rick and I went to a high school volleyball game last night. Both teams have skill. Both teams had moments when they did very well. Both teams also made mistakes.

Missed serves. Illegal formation. Bad hits. Out-of-bounce hits.

At the end of the very competitive match, one team lost. One team won, even though both teams made mistakes.

When watching any competitive event, there are lots of “arm-chair quarterbacks” in the room. Missed calls. Unfair calls. Wrong choice by a coach. It’s amazing how “right” we can be while sitting in the stands.

In any competitive competition, those who advance to playing at high levels usually have one thing in common: they let go of their mistakes quickly. They must, otherwise their performance will be affected.

So, how about you? How quickly can you let something go? Do you hang onto things forever and ever? Or, do you quickly move on.

Generally speaking, I think I let go of things rather quickly. I do not like to put unnecessary energy into getting bogged down by a mistake that I made. Doing so only draws energy away from other things I need to be focusing on. And leads to more mistakes.

But I have my limits. Rick and I were discussing a certain situation. He’s much more forgiving in this instance. Poor repeated previous behavior makes me keep up my guard. I’m more hesitant about overlooking what has happened in the past and thinking there will be different outcomes in the future.

I’m trying to be patient and see this through. Be proved wrong in my hesitation to fully embrace.

I must be thankful that I know a God who forgives and moves on so quickly. Who bats mistakes away way quicker than I do?

One of my mistakes? Not growing in this area enough to trust God. And let go. And be OK with my and other’s mistakes.

How quickly can you forgive mistakes? Are there mistakes that you still are hanging onto? Why?

For God’s ability to overlook mistakes so much more quickly than I do, I am grateful. 

Lord God – Your ability to overlook mistakes is so amazing. Your ability to overlook MY mistakes is even more notable. Be patient with me as I continue to grow in this area. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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