Perspective During Very Warm Days

Gratitude Day 305

Sat., July 20, 2019

Jonah 4:8 – As the sun rose higher in the sky, God sent a very hot east wind to blow, and the sun became so hot on Jonah’s head that he became very weak and wished he were dead. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

It’s been a HOT week in Wisconsin!! I saw an image on Friday that the temperature was like 150 degrees warmer than exactly 6 months ago. Heat index on Friday? Like 105. Six months ago? Wind chill factor was at least -45.

Hubby Rick was one of those complaining six months ago about the cold. Well, in reality, everyone was. When coming home from work early one morning, the temperature gage on the car registered -38. Without the windchill factor. This was the lowest temperature he had EVER seen in his (cough) 65-years.

I don’t like the cold … but I’m not sure +105 heat index is my cup of tea either. We have a beautiful old house … with hot water heat. This means our house lacks duck work for traditional central air. Yes, I know there are alternatives. I just haven’t convinced my heat-loving husband that it’s worth the investment. He’d rather hone-up the heating system.

And so, our only air conditioner is a window unit that we have in the dining room on the main floor. Our bedroom and my office are on the second floor. It’s been a tad bit warm there this week. I have fans going. I kept the windows closed during the day and open only when it has cooled off at night to let in some cooler, fresh air. But it’s still HOT. Friday afternoon, I brought my laptop and work downstairs and set-up shop on the dining room table. Right in front of the window air conditioner.

On the other hand, Rick is LOVING every minute of these days. Yes, he loves HOT. He loves HUMIDITY. Yes, he’s not completely sane. He doesn’t mind showering four times a day. I prefer life when I feel dry after toweling post shower. These days, I don’t.

And yet, I’m reminded that life really could be SO. MUCH. WORSE. What about the people who are feeding farm animals in the awful heat? Been there, done that. Not fun. Or the days when we baled hay on a terribly hot day like we’ve had this week? Almost suffocating trying to stack those little square hay bales in a very warm barn with little or no breeze.

Anyone who has worked an outdoor job this week needs the weekend off. Seriously. But I know that not everyone who works these types of jobs will have this luxury.

We weren’t one of the 12,000 people who live in downtown Madison who lost all electricity on Friday when two transmitters for the local gas and electric company started on fire. Those folks didn’t have electricity all day yesterday, including many businesses. Imagine having to move all the refrigerated food in a grocery store really quick.

I know I’m dating myself … but there was no AC in the old farmhouse where we grew up. Car air conditioning was rolling down the windows (with an actual knob that cranked) and driving 60 miles/hour down the road.

Rick and I had a conversation about what it must be like to live in Bagdad or some dessert place where it’s over 100 all summer long. Yes, there isn’t the humidity like we have. But do the people ever tire of the heat, day after day? Rick wants to move there and find out. For like six months. Seriously.

I’m not convinced I want to tag long for more than a week or two.

I know we aren’t the only part of the U.S. that has experienced heat in the summer. I’m not ready to move to Kansas or Texas or Atlanta and live there in June, July and August. Rick would love to do so; right after Bagdad.

The heat is to break today, which is Saturday. And for the next 10 days, we’ll all have to find something else to talk about other than the heat. We’ll open our windows and go for walks outside and drink peach iced tea on our porches. And we’ll recall those dog days of summer from last week.

It’s summer. It’s supposed to be hot. It’s supposed to be humid. And I just thank God that we have days like these so when 80 degrees rolls around, we think about getting a jacket out after the sun goes down.

For warm days that help me keep perspective, I am grateful.

Lord God – please be with those who are experiencing hot, humid and not dealing so well with it. Please be with those who may not have a cool place to cool down. Please with those who work outside and can’t escape the elements as easily as some others. Please help us keep perspective. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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God In the Simple

Gratitude Day 279

Sat., June 1, 2019

Hebrew 5:12 – By now you should have been teachers, but once again you need to be taught the simplest things about what God has said. You need milk instead of solid food.

Just a few thoughts as the weekend officially begins. Thoughts that encourage me to realize that simple is never overrated. In fact, we need regular doses of simple milk in our lives to help restore our souls.

  • Hubby Rick and I have observed several rites of passages these last several days. Earlier this week, I shared about our nephew Kevin, and his most recent rite of passage with high school graduation. We also met our newest granddaughter, Jensyn. Birth and graduation. Two pretty big rites of passages. Yet, also events that simply bring us back to simple beginnings. Events we know we simply use to mark time once again in our lives.
  • Another huge rite of passage? Leaving this world. About a month ago, I shared the story of our dear friends, Howard and Rhoda. Over a week ago, Howard began a journey towards the last moments of his life. It’s been a special time in which I had the honor to help care for Howard in his last days. Being a part of this type of journey is terribly humbling and powerful. It’s also a huge reminder that there are some things we have absolutely no control over. Thanks, Rhoda, for letting me walk this path with Howard and your family.
  • For the last two school years, I have participated in our local school district’s buddy program. Wednesday mornings, I’m at the school, hanging out with my buddy, Isaac. This week was our last session, as well as the end-of-the-year ice cream social to celebrate all the buddies and their mentors. During the ice cream social, school counselor Mrs. Sukowski took a few minutes and chatted with Isaac and me. She asked what types of things we did together. Isaac is finishing 5th grade. Normally, students “graduate” out of the buddy program after 5th grade. Isaac asked Mrs. Sukowski if I could be his buddy next year, even though he is going into 6th grade. The counselor asked Isaac why he wanted to continue to meet with me. Here’s his answer: “She’s fun, funny and smart. Besides that, she’s my best friend.” Folks – there have been times when I have wondered if the one-hour I spend each week with Isaac is important. I’m not sure that I really am his best friend. What his comments say to me is that if I brought a little stability into his life, every hour that I spent with him is simply important.
  • Finally, spring arrived. The last two days, Rick and I have spent some time freshening up the yard and flower beds. It’s the best therapy for me. And having lily of the valley blooming right now makes doing these tasks simply a complete pleasure.
  • One last picture for the road – Grandpa and 7-year-old Dylan after his baseball game on Friday night. Little people baseball is simply the best.

For simple things that remind me what truly is important even when life can be very full, I am grateful.

Gracious God – You are the master of simply. Too often, we are the ones who muck things up and make them too difficult. May we find You in the simply places of life this weekend. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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A Gospel Lived by Action

Gratitude Day 273

Sat., May 18, 2019

Deuteronomy 4:9 – You must be very careful not to forget the things you have seen God do for you. Keep reminding yourselves and tell your children and grandchildren as well.

It’s Saturday morning! And here are just a few random thoughts on this cool Wisconsin weekend.

  1. It’s baseball season. Our house is clearly Milwaukee Brewers fans. Well, one is especially in love with the Brewers which means we’re all in love with the Brewers. Therefore, I receive updates about the Brewers at all hours of the day; most notably when Hubby Rick gets home from work as the sun is coming up and he is crawling into bed.

As much as we love and follow the Brewers, they aren’t our #1 teams. Sorry, Brewers. Whatever team our grandchildren are playing on outranks you.

We’re taking in as many of the grandkid’s games as we can. Friday night, we went to little Dylan’s game, which was his second game of the season. If you want to be entertained, take in a baseball game played by 7-year-olds. The rules are a little different. There are only four innings. Everyone gets to bat every inning. The coaches take turns pitching. Little bodies speckle the infield and the outfield. It’s not uncommon to see two little boys bust a move randomly in the outfield when they have lost interest in watching who is batting. There was one little girl on the opposing team. She barely hit the ball into play but started running towards first base after the coach encouraged her to do so. The catcher took his face mask off, just like the big boys do, grabbed the ball and threw it towards first base. He was right on the money and the ball bonked the little girl in the back of the helmet. At the end of the inning, she came running over to the sidelines and asked her grandma, “Did you see me get hit in the back of the head?”

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Here’s our little Dylan up to bat. Keep swinging, Dylan. We hope you, and your brother Waylan, have fun baseball seasons.

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  1. It’s garage sale weekend in our hometown. I’m not much of a garage-saler. Certainly, I don’t need more stuff. But … garage sale weekend is a good reason to visit the neighbors who are having a garage sale. And support the local Presbyterian church that has a food stand. I might have brought home a couple items to use when I host a bridal shower this summer. Shhh … don’t tell the Brewer fan in our household.

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  1. If sometimes you procrastinate, then this might be a book for you to read. I’ll be honest. It’s difficult to admit that yes, sometimes, I procrastinate. I do the “easy” things, wanting to quickly cross something off my to-do list, rather than focusing on the “important” things. Why do I do this? A project feels a bit overwhelming and so I delay starting it. Or I think it’s going to take a lot of time and I’m not in the right spot to mentally take it on. Too often, I am a perfectionist and I know this project maybe stretching my skill set. Or a whole host of other reasons.

This book is challenging me to rethink how I prioritize what I do, how I do it and delay putting off those things I say are important but don’t ever get around to. If you struggle with similar patterns, run to your library and get this book.

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  1. Love captured all in one photo. That’s the second-baser from last night’s game with Grandpa. Sometimes, this is how a sleepover looks in our house. Boys downstairs. Girls upstairs. Softly snoring as the sun just tips over the horizon. And I couldn’t love it more. These next generation Vielhuber’s who we pray see that faith is an important part of our lives. Not so much because we say it … but because we live it in the choices we make every day. We try to embody a quote often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel daily. Use words only when necessary.”

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For special times with special little people in our lives, I am grateful.

Holy God – in this game of life, I pray the actions I make every day reflect my desire to reflect Your place in my life. May I always remember the best lessons are modeled in how I conduct myself every minute of the day, especially to those little people who we call our own. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Today’s Season

Gratitude Day 261

Sat., Apr. 27, 2019

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

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It’s April 27 and I still have ice skates on my front porch.

And pine boughs that would take about 3.5 seconds to burn they are so dry.

If you look closely, there is a tipped over church/birdhouse thing that I didn’t even take time to upright. It’s been so windy this week that well, the church/birdhouse felt more comfortable on its side.

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Every time I go to the mailbox, I think, “Dianne, you really must get these winter decorations off the front porch.” And then another day goes by. And then a week. I’ve written “front porch” so many times on today’s to-do list that I think it automatically writes itself these days.

Yet, the ice skates and the dried-up pine boughs and the tipped over church/birdhouse live another day.

Snow is forecasted for tonight. Yep. Real snow. Like multiple inches. Maybe not enough for ice and ice skates but one more hint of what Christmas and the first snowfall of the winter could feel like.

Only the daffodils are blooming, the trees are budding out and lawnmowers have been humming for the first time of 2019 this week. Mother Nature just hasn’t decided exactly what season it is … yet.

The verse from Ecclesiasties 3:1 is well-known, whether you consider yourself a Christian or not. We use this saying in normal, every day life. “Everything has a season,” we say.

A season for school and education. A season for working.

A season for athletics and sports and a season for cheering from the sidelines.

A season for having fun and a season for being responsible.

A season for children and a season for empty-nesting.

A season for grandchildren and a season for sending them home.

A season for moving up the corporate ladder and a season for being OK with where you are.

A season for cleaning and getting rid of and a season for enjoying what you have.

A season for traveling and exploring and a season for sitting on the porch.

A season for ice skates and pine boughs and a season for fresh flowers and greenery.

A season for doing, doing, doing … and a season for being OK with less doing.

A season for being critical of ourselves and a season for accepting who you are, warts and all.

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I kept thinking that I would remove the winter decorations and find a way to make the porch look pretty before I plant gorgeous summer flowers with no concern about them freezing at night. The season of Lent came and went. The season of Easter arrived … and still ice skates.

Maybe, it’s a season of being OK with where things are today. Being OK with not crossing everything off today’s to-do list. Or writing a more realistic one. Being OK with grace and peace and whatever I need to make it through today. Being OK with enjoying the most important things in life and letting the rest go.

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What season are you in today? What might you just need to be OK with today?

For trying to see a little more grace in my life and being OK with today’s season, I am grateful.

Almighty God – there are so many seasons in our lives: seasons of the calendar; seasons of school and work; seasons of family and friends; seasons of activity and less activity; seasons of acceptance and seasons and grace. As we explore with you the current season of our lives, may you fill us with understanding and grace of today’s season. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Holy Week is Here!

Gratitude Day 250

Sat., Apr. 13, 2019

Palm-Sunday.-Credit-Spread-Worship

John 12:13 – They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

 

Here’s a just a few things I’ve been pondering as we come into this weekend.

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Spring, Please Come Back

You were here for a hot minute. And then, you disappeared. The snow is mostly gone. But the wind and cold? Bone-chilling. Can you please make a guest appearance again? And stay longer this time?

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Be Inspired by a Young Person

My nephew Kevin spent several days in Washington D.C. this week as part of a 4-H trip he was selected for. (He’s the guy in the front row with the bow tie.)

I picked him up from the Milwaukee airport and was part of his taxi ride home from the airport.

While in D.C., the youth were divided into small roundtable groups. In these groups, they developed potential legislative ideas which they presented to members of Congress or their staff people if the Congress members were not available.

It was so refreshing to hear a young person’s perspective on some of this. It’s easy for people to feel like the U.S. government is struggling right now. As I talked with Kevin, I was impressed. He’s insightful and articulate. He drew conclusions and ideas without my prompting.

The lesson for some of the rest of us? We can use our voices. We can be inspired to share ideas with our legislators. Will there be automatic change? No. Rather than being discouraged and only talk about the problems, we can be part of the change. Amen.

Holy Week 2

It’s Holy Week

Tomorrow, we celebrate Palm Sunday which leads us into the last week of Christ’s life. For years, this week has been my favorite week of the Christian year. We begin the week waving palms and just a few days later, are faced with the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life. I love going to the Last Supper and hearing Jesus’ last words to his closest group of friends. Yes, it’s agonizing to imagine those last six hours of Jesus’ life as he hung on the cross. But it’s because of this event, Christians can have hope. Hope for more. Hope that death doesn’t have the last word. Hope that Jesus conquers death and so much more.

Please, please take in the special worship services that surround this week. They can be very moving and highly symbolic. When we jump from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, we miss out on so much. Journey through the muck and arrive at Easter Sunday amazed again by this rich and deep story.

Holy Week

Speaking of Easter …

I don’t have a single Easter decoration out yet. For the many years I served as a pastor, I always made sure and had them out before Holy Week began. My timing is just off these days, as my schedule doesn’t completely revolve around Sunday worship as it did for YEARS. Maybe it’s OK those Easter decorations are still in a closet. I’m going to treasure bringing them out and thinking about Holy Week as I do.

If I can inspire you a bit today … truly think about Holy Week and what it means to you. A great exercise this week would be to read the last half of John’s Gospel. Amazingly, the last half of this Gospel is dedicated to the last week of Jesus’ life. Start with John 12 and read through the end of the Gospel, which is John 21. If you start today, this is 10 chapters to read in 9 days if you read every day between today and Easter Sunday. You only have to read two chapters on one of those days to complete all 10 before Easter! Give yourself an Easter gift and read through them. These chapters are rich with Jesus’ teachings, words and insights. Read the chapters slowly. Please don’t rush. See what is something new you can discover as you read them. And come into Easter morning excited to go to the tomb!

Let’s make this a great Holy Week!

For the opportunity of a deeply rich Holy Week, I am grateful.

Almighty God – we’ll wave palm branches this weekend and shout, “Hosanna!” But like the people of Jesus’ day, will we decide to turn away from you this week? Inspire us to dig a little deeper and be refreshed by the difficult stories of the last days of Jesus’ life. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Who Is This Man?

Gratitude Day 241

Sat., Mar. 30, 2019

Matthew 16:13 – When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

The last few weeks, I’ve shared with you a few random thoughts on Saturday morning. These thoughts cover a wide range of ideas that have been floating around my brain. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.

  1. I started taking a computer design class this week. A class that I should have taken years ago. I have a part-time marketing job where I design various promotional items for a small agricultural company. I happened upon this job rather accidentally … and now have been working there 5+ years. Unfortunately, my skills as a designer are out dated compared to what is used today. Through a local college, I signed up for a class and started attending it this week. My point? I wish that I would have done this YEARS ago. What is something that you have always wanted to learn a little more about? Photography? (I could use a course in this as well.) Baking bread? A basic accounting class? There are options out there for us to explore new things. The classes can be a one-and-done or a little longer. It could be a full semester or just a few weeks, like the class I am taking. Too often, we think we don’t have time or are comfortable with where we are. A little shove out the door can be helpful!
  2. I shared a few weeks ago about how I’m trying to not buy groceries during Lent. For the most part, I have followed through with this. Yes, we’ve bought milk and eggs. Soon, I will need to buy lettuce and fresh veggies, staples for us. This week, I needed two items from the grocery store. I kept putting off going to the store. Friday, I ran into Menard’s to get grout for the upstairs bathroom that we are putting in. To my amazement … I found both of the needed items! This being said, I have made a couple things that, well, were OK. Example – I was cooking chicken and suddenly, it turned into chicken chili. Thank goodness Hubby Rick will try anything!
  3. Sometimes, there are things beyond our control. Several months ago, I began offering a morning text devotional prayer. It’s very short; no more than 305 characters and is sent out a t 7 AM central time each day. A devoted follower of these devotional prayers sent me a personal text saying he missed the morning’s prayer. WHAT?? Come to find out, the server that sends out these texts had problems and the text didn’t go out as scheduled. Thanks to the person who let me know this happened. Unfortunately, everyone eventually received this prayer twice later in the day. If you are interested in receiving these short morning prayers/devotions, just text simplewordsoffaith (all one word) to 33222 and you will be enrolled. I hope those of you who receive these texts feel uplifted by them.
  4. Our taxes are done! This is a necessary job that I often put off. Personally, it takes me more time to get everything pulled together than actually complete the taxes online. There were significant changes in the tax laws this year. Hubby Rick and I have heard all kinds of responses to how people have been affected. This spurred me on to finally complete them. One thought I’ve been mulling about. With the standard deduction being much higher than previously, not as many people will be itemizing this year. Charitable organizations have often benefited from people making contributions for tax purposes. Will this change affect charitable contributions to organizations? Hopefully … not. In my heart-of-hearts, I want to believe that people donate to organizations because they believe in the mission and vision of the organization. But I would love to hear feedback from you on this.

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5. This book. I have been a John Ortberg fan for years. About 15 years ago, I heard him seek at a conference. Not only was he the best speaker of the conference, he was the best speaker I had heard in YEARS. A prolific writer, he is a pastor of a Presbyterian church in California. He wrote Who is This Man? in 2012 … but I’ve just gotten around to reading it. I’ll admit. I had a hard time getting into the first few chapters. But I have felt the last several chapters have been so interesting. Ortberg looks at Jesus, the Man and explores how he changed history. I have one more chapter to read and plan to finish it this weekend. Ortberg ends the look looking at the Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. Reading these chapters has been a great exercise this Lent for me. Are you reading or doing something this Lent which is helping you grow in faith?

The days are feeling much more spring-like here in Wisconsin. In fact, the daffodils stems are popping up in the flower beds, which need to be cleaned out and room made for new growth! It’s a fun to see a new season with new possibilities. Have a great weekend! Enjoy worship and Sabbath this weekend.

For Jesus, the Man, who came and changed history, I am grateful.

Jesus – thanks for coming into this world that desperately needing redeeming. Thank you for completely reinterpreting so much of what was happening at the time and brought forth new opportunities through God’s kingdom. May we be inspired to discover who you, this man who came to earth, is all about. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Six for Saturday

Gratitude Day 237

Sat., Mar. 23, 2019

Hosea 6:3 – Let’s do our best to know the Lord. His coming is as certain as the morning sun; he will refresh us like rain renewing the earth in the springtime.

Just a few random thoughts as the weekend begins.

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  1. The calendar says its spring … and we have finally had a couple days where we did not have to wear a winter coat that were filled with sunshine. When Hubby Rick and I are in the car together, it is our tradition to read a devotion together. We just use a little book called The Upper Room and read the day’s devotion. We always close with a prayer. On Friday, we were on our way to have lunch with some dear friends. As we were praying, Rick admitted out loud that his attitude is affected by the weather. He is so right. I just wasn’t as quick to admit it out loud. The sunshine, even if chilly, does affect my attitude as well. I dug out some peach iced tea and have been drinking this all week. For me, this is a sure sign of warmer weather, as I love peach iced tea in the summer.

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2. My heart has also been yearning for color. Yes, I love black and white. I wear a lot of black and grey. My house has a lot of grey walls. But I am SO READY for COLOR! Something light, something fun and something that looks a little Easterish. A couple weeks ago, I bought some eucalyptus just because it smelled good.

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A few days later, I put it into this container with a few candles and some sprigs of artificial lavender that I had. These pillows are almost the same color teal. I put them in our front parlor, moved a couple things around and WOW! It feels much more like spring. This should really have been a 20-minute makeover because I did this in less than 20-minutes. And yet, has it made my heart sing.

 

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3. We love college basketball at our house. And we watched the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badger’s men team loose in the first round of the NCAA tournament. We will continue to root for the Big 10 teams. Plus, I always like to root for Tony Bennett and Virginia. I just think he’s a class act. Who are YOU rooting for?

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4. I have nearly filled up the 40 for 40 Box for Lent this year. And have started box #2. Rick brought a few things to me and asked if I have a donation box going. (I often do.) And so, his items are now in the 40 by 40 box as well. Are you working on a 40 by 40 box this Lent? How does it feel? It’s not too late to join in the fun!!

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5. We love Mexican food! Yesterday, we had lunch at a favorite Mexican place. It’s Jose’s in Baraboo, WI. I didn’t take a picture of the wonderful fajita taco salad that I had. Let me just say; it was great!

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6. Maybe by now, you have seen this video. It’s a basketball team of maybe 5th Watch #50 as he helps one of his teammates make a basket. The best part? The response of the boy who makes the basket.

https://www.facebook.com/learningexpresslakezurich/videos/845220942501420/

I saw this video with this caption: “We need more #50’s in life.” Amen.

This weekend, who can you be a #50 to? GO AND DO IT!!

For the witness of a little guy teaching us how to serve one another, I am grateful.

Thank you for the hope of new life this spring, Lord God. Sometimes, yes, these little differences do affect our attitude. May we see opportunities to be a breath of fresh air and help someone this weekend. Inspire us to do all the good we can do. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Six for Saturday

Gratitude Day 232

Sat., Mar. 16, 2019

Luke 12:26 – And if worry can’t even do such little things as that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

Interested in a few thoughts I’ve been pondering this week? Good! Here we go!!

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  1. 40 days is a long time. This week, I wrote about shopping my freezer and pantry for food during Lent. And in less than two weeks into this, I broke. I stopped at the grocery store and bought corned beef, cabbage, carrots and red potatoes to make corn beef and cabbage today. Hubby Rick starts works on Sundays, so I thought it would be easier to make it today. While Rick likes corned beef, he LOVES the cooked cabbage with corned beef. I think he earned the cooked cabbage after attending Hamilton with me this week. Will you be cooking corned beef and cabbage this weekend or going someplace for a meal? And yes, I will be back to using up that freezer and pantry …

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2. While in Chicago, we went to Millennium Park and saw the bean-shaped thing that is all the rage. FYI – I am a terrible selfie picture-taker. Rick would be even worse. I cheated and took our reflection in the bean. I know it’s a rather terrible picture. We snapped it in-between rain drops. Please, look at the bean more than us. But if you must figure out who we are, yep, that’s Rick in the red Wisconsin sweatshirt holding the umbrella. And yes, that’s me next to him. We enjoyed the park but decided it would be more enjoyable in the summer. Where has been a fun place you have visited recently?

Brenda Statz

3. The dairy industry crisis is real, especially in Wisconsin. Here’s an article that explains the stress and emotional roller coaster for those struggling with farming right now: https://www.agupdate.com/agriview/news/business/efforts-aim-to-prevent-suicide/article_f1897cba-0a71-5545-a744-355202b17798.html

Brenda Statz shares her heart-breaking story of loosing her husband. Rick has known the Statz’s for years. He hauled their milk for many years and later, his son Darran, did. Darran hauled the last load of milk off their farm before they stopped milking cows. I know Brenda told this story purely to encourage other people who might be in the same situation as her husband, Leon. Do you know someone who struggles with depression? Share with them some of the resources available out there.

4. And the difficulties for farmers and ranchers continues. The last two weeks have been challenging for some farmers. We’ve had a lot of snow the past six months. Now, some roofs of buildings can no longer hold up the room and have come crashing down. Personally, I am aware of a few farms that have been affected by this. Pray for people who are feeling so much stress as they produce food for American and the world right now.

5. As all of this snow melts, many communities are now experiencing flooding. Yep, about all we’re talking about these days in Wisconsin is the weather. Some of these communities are the same ones affected by flooding the end of last summer. Some are new. All are dealing with lots of potential losses. Let’s hope the water evaporates with limited additional damage. Let’s have compassion for those who maybe going through another round of displacement in their lives.

6. I’ve been reading about simplicity lately. And discovering there are lots of different ways to interpret and embody simplicity in a person’s life. While I feel there are areas in which Rick and I intentionally choose simplicity, there are other areas where we can make improvements. One of the keys to simplicity? Finding your own way. Some people are more rigid about some things than others. Personally, I feel simplicity for me helps remove some of the things that pull me away from fulling the things that I feel are important. How do you view simplicity? Where do you long to have a bit more simplicity in your life?

Have a great weekend. One thing we’re doing today? Catching some Big 10 men’s basketball! Go Badgers!

For appreciation for the little things in life, I am grateful.

Jesus – we see the families and people who are affected by things going on in their lives and we simply turn them over to you. I pray that those who are struggling will find assistance. Be with those affected by flooding, snow damage … anything that affects their daily living, just be with them. May we be willing to help in ways that we can.   Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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6 For Saturday

Gratitude Day 227

Sat., Mar. 9, 2019

Deuteronomy 11:7 – Your own eyes witnessed each of these powerful acts the Lord performed.

Just a few random thoughts on this Saturday.

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  1. Every conversation in Wisconsin right now involves this topic: the weather. Most Wisconsinites are so over winter. We’re ready for spring, sunshine, less snow and less layers of clothes. On Friday, there was just a hint of something above single digits. After we finished backing the weekend food bags for school kids, a few of us stood outside and talked. Someone said it was 18 degrees. Let me just say: 18 degrees never felt so good. Later in the afternoon, I walked to the mailbox. And heard the sounds of dripping water from melting snow. I could barely believe my ears. Hubby Rick celebrated by washing both of our cars, which were covered in salt, dirt and grime. One of these days, maybe, just maybe, we’ll see grass again.

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  1. We’re attending a birthday party for a 7-year-old today. Part of the gift? This book. It’s about a tortoise who doesn’t like spring nor change. The illustrations are precious. Maybe, the book includes an appropriate attitude adjustment for those of us who are so over winter.

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  1. Lent 2019 is off and running. Each year, I like to pick a book and use as part of my daily devotion during Lent. This year, I am using this book by Paula Huston. Each day, she has a little devotion and an activity to help you move towards simplicity during the next 40 days. If you are looking for something to use this Lent, it’s not too late. (Remember: the 40 days of Lent don’t include Sundays. So, you can still get a Lenten devotional book, use it on Sundays and you’ll still complete it!) Here are a couple sentences from the book that struck home with me:

The desert Fathers and Mothers understood that clinging to possessions, no matter how precious or beautiful, is a form of servitude. We cannot move easily when we are burdened by the things, however lovely, we carry on our backs.

(Side note – I read this sentence AFTER I had posted today’s #4.)

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  1. 40 for 40 This Lent – I hope you will join me in finding an item each day that you no longer need or love, putting it in a box and then donating a box-full of items at the end of Lent. One person shared with me that she could do an 80 for 40 This Lent … and not even notice a difference in her house. My reply? Go for it! If you have a spouse, whether they participate or not, you can choose an item for them each day as well!

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  1. Who doesn’t love baby lambs? My sister Debbie’s family is nearing the end of lambing season. And they have a bunch of cuties. I’ll share more about them in a day or two. For now, enjoy this picture of their precious little bundles of joy. Seriously … after 30 seconds in a pen of baby lambs even in negative 15-degree weather, how can you not have a smile on your face?
  2. “I’m powerful. I’m unshakeable.” The words rang through our car last night while driving home. Our youngest three grandkids were with us. They had requested that we listen to one of the old VBS CD’s I keep in the car. Each grandchild has their favorite song on this CD. Dylan’s happens to be a song that says, “You’re powerful. You’re unshakeable.” After the singers sang, “You’re powerful,” he echoed in his not-so-inside voice, “I’m powerful” and so on. His reaction to the song made my heart skip a beat. I’m not completely positive Dylan understood that it’s God who is being declared as powerful and unshakeable in this song. But the words struck home with him. No matter what is going on in your life right now, I pray that you see God as powerful and unshakeable. We may be challenged in our faith at times. This is OK. Even when we are trying to sort through something and make sense of it in our lives, our powerful and unshakeable God walks right beside us on this journey. For this, we have every reason to be grateful.

For a powerful and unshakeable God in my life, I am grateful.

O God – may we see you as powerful and unshakeable today. No matter how we muff up our lives, our churches and our communities and world, You still are You. May your power and presence comfort and give me peace today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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6 For Saturday

Gratitude Day 223

Sat., Mar. 2, 2019

Philippians 1:6 – I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus.

It’s Saturday morning. And before you get rolling with all the fun things you maybe doing this weekend, here are six little things to help you focus your weekend and maybe even put a smile on your face.

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  1. This Lent. Ash Wednesday begins next Wed., Mar. 6. The official beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday is a time for personal reflection. It’s a time when we forgive ourselves, forgive others and explore how we might draw ourselves closer to God throughout Lent. There is a tradition of “giving up” things during Lent, such as candy, chocolate, sugar, etc. The idea is by giving something up, you will replace this desire for a longing to grow deeper with God and your relationship with God I have followed these “giving up” traditions in Lent. For years, I have given up sugar. I am also a proponent of “adding in” something during Lent. Maybe you decide to spend a specific amount of time with God each day. Or send a card to someone every day. Possibly read a special devotion or book during Lent. Personally, I feel adding in something during Lent can be deeply meaningful. I’ll share a few more thoughts about Lenten practices in a couple days. However, I encourage you to start thinking about what practices you want to embody this Lent.

2. This Song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaT8Jl2zpI

“You Say” by Lauren Daigle

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3. This Cartoon. For those of you who have had enough winter, this is just for you! Sent to me by my dear friend, Rhoda. I think she’s sick of winter as well!

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4. This Sign. Recently, I officiated at a wedding and this sign was part of the decorations. Look closely. It’s a piece of paneling! How clever!! Maybe paneling can be upcycled??!!

5. This Bible Verse. It’s one that I’ve been reflecting upon lately:

Mark 2:17 “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

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6. These flowers. The one’s Hubby Rick gave me last week. They still look beautiful this week!

God can and will do good work in you today!

For God’s ability to find good in life’s little things, I am grateful.

Almighty God – may we see you in our lives today. May you do good work in and through us. May we celebrate little things that bring us joy and a smile today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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