Wednesday Prayer Day – Be Still

Gratitude Day 497

Wed., Aug. 12, 2020

Psalm 46:10 – Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.

Be still.

And know that I am God.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Yet, being still really isn’t that easy.

Especially during a pandemic.

Should kids go to school or not?

Should there be sports this fall?

Whan an effective vaccine be found?

Be still?

Right.

Rather than honoring God as God, we sit perched on our executive chairs of control. We are SO. SURE. We know what is best for ourselves and everyone around us. And we go out of our way to make sure everyone knows who is in charge.

Listen again.

Be still.

Listen. Hear. Know.

Stop trying to be God. Take over. Be in control.

Instead, let God do God. Take a break. Turn your faces upward and towards God rather than burying them in your cell phones. Whatever it is that is demanding too much, just stop. Organize a stay-cation with the One who is God. Spend  time every day just simply being with God. Reconnect with God’s constant place in your life.

Be still.

Know God.

That’s all.

Amen.

For the reminder to be with You, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Be still. Know that God is God. The end. Amen.  

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Tonight is Devo’s with Dianne – 8 PM on Facebook Live. See you then!

Lessons from COVID-19: How 130 Birthday Cards Can Change A Person’s Life

Gratitude Day 496

Tues., Aug. 11, 2020

Psalm 9:1 – I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I will talk about all your wonderful acts.

Nothing like 130 birthday cards to brighten up a 90-year-old woman.

A few weeks ago, I asked if 90 of my friends would be willing to send a birthday card to my Aunt Beverly. She was turning 90 and of course, her birthday plans had all been canceled because of COVID-19. Having been sequestered to her room at a care facility since March 8, Aunt Beverly was down. Discouraged. Disappointed.

Until the birthday cards started showing up.

At first, there were just a few cards. One day, 13 arrived. A couple days later, she had a total of 22 cards. On the actual day of her birthday, Beverly had 87 birthday cards. From across the United States.

And she was so pleased.

After the cards started arriving, I “called” her for our typical Sunday worship/devotion time. She began our conversation with, “Dianne, what have you done? Why am I getting all these cards? Many of them from Wisconsin?”

There was no getting around it. I had to clue her in about what was happening because hopefully, a lot more cards would be arriving.

And they did.

A few days before her birthday, Aunt Beverly was able to see her son, Steve, for the first time in about four months. It was required that they meet outside. Beverly toted the cards along to show Steve. She was so excited to show them to him.

On the actual day of her birthday, my two friends Mary and Rhoda jo

ined me for a special call to Aunt Beverly. Steve had dropped off bread and juice at the front desk and it had been delivered to Beverly’s room. This allowed for us to have communion together … something Aunt Beverly had not had for months. There was a little hesitation when she couldn’t get the juice bottle open, but she did. It was a special moment when we honored Aunt Bev by celebrating communion together.

While not quite 90 cards arrived by her birthday, I was optimistic there were still some on there way. The cards continued to arrive for about another week. The numbers continued to climb and toppled out at 130.

Aunt Beverly has been completely amazed with all of the cards. She’s looked through them several times. She loves to see the various places from where they came from. It truly has brought so much joy to her life.

Her favorite part? Easy. How many of the cards were addressed to Aunt Beverly. It has tickled her so much how many of the cards where personalized just for her.

Aunt Beverly has requested that I let my friends know how much these cards mean to her. I’m sure you all understand that it’s not really possible for Aunt Beverly to respond to each person individually. She and I hope this group “thank you” will suffice.

Nonetheless, Aunt Bev wants everyone to know how much she has enjoyed your cards. One of the challenges of growing old is outliving your friends. Yes, this is Aunt Bev’s case. Yet, she now feels like she has gained a whole new bunch of friends. From all across the United States.

So, from the bottom of our hearts, “thank you” for making one woman’s day/month/year. Recently, a friend shared with me a news story she saw on national TV. It featured a woman who turned 90 and was in the same situation as Aunt Beverly. In a care facility and unable to celebrate her birthday, she received something like 80 cards.

Well, you guys blew that number out of the park! While Aunt Beverly didn’t make national news, the joy and excitement and pleasure she has received from those cards truly outshines being on national television.

Sometimes it works out that my friends Rhoda and Mary join in for my Sunday devotion/worship time with Aunt Beverly. The three of us called her this last Sunday. It’s been so fun for these ladies develop a friendship with someone new. I’m not sure who feels more special about it: Aunt Beverly or my friends. In the end, it has been so fun to watch how these ladies, who have never physically met, are choosing to become friends as we spend a little time reflecting upon God together.

Here’s my little encouragement for today: please never underestimate the power of a card. Or some little act of kindness. When we choose to do one little thing each day for someone else, I think we would be amazed to observe how our demeanor and feelings about ourselves WILL change. Try it … and find out.

In letting Aunt Beverly have the last word, she specifically wanted to me to thank all of her new “nieces and nephews” from across the United States for remembering her birthday. And she loves you all.

For those willing to help brighten one woman’s life, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – I pray that we NEVER forget how important the little things are. It’s so easy to put all of our time and energy into the seemingly big things. Yet, it’s amazing how doing a little thing every day can profoundly change our attitudes, feelings and outlook. I pray we will find little ways to make a difference every day. Amen.  

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

Just in case you’d like to send Aunt Beverly another card, here’s her address again:

Aunt Beverly Anderson

10200 E Harvard Ave Apt 200

Denver, CO  80231-3946

Simple Things for Saturday

Gratitude Day 495

Sat., Aug. 8, 2020

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.

A well-known woman shared this week that she is experiencing low-grade depression right now. Whether you agree with her views, please hear her words. She’s struggling and trying to figure it out. She’s made herself very vulnerable. She’s admitting that we all have a point where the angst of what we’re living through right now can be, well, too much.

When I saw the headline and read the first few sentences of a particular news story, an epiphany came over me. I’ve found myself feeling off of late. OK, honestly, like for a few months but more so lately. Yes, I do things. Yet, I find myself flittering away time. I choose easy, low hanging fruit rather than focusing on the really important things. I do the simple, easy, and no-brainer tasks rather than digging deeper and really thinking about various things.

Let me be clear. I’m not depressed. What I’m saying is that things just feel out of whack right now. Making tough decisions just feels harder than normal. Everything seems to take longer. What I have planned for one week keeps rolling into the next week and the following week. Again, and again.

Today, I realized that I’m not sure that I’ve ever really been in a situation quite like this before. Yes, I do things. For the most part, I get the big stuff done. But the new stuff? The dreams I think about? The desire to put myself out there and try something different and new? Things that normally excite me? I lack the desire to dig in and get them done.

When I heard Mrs. Obama’s confession this week, I stopped for a minute. I connected. I realized that some of her words could be my words. I’ve been thinking for days about whether or not to share how I feel in light of this revelation because, well, my situation isn’t dire. Or earth-shattering. Or making a difference whether we have food on the table and a place to live.

I’m not dealing with a dying person. Neither Hubby Rick nor I are unemployed. We’re doing fine and continue to know and believe that we’re some of the least affected people in all of this situation. Still true today.

Yet, I also know things just feel off. Weird. Not normal. I keep praying that my focus will improve. That I will pick something to complete and actually do it. I keep hoping that there will be a little desire within me to make this next week the one when I make a shift back into a more productive mode.

So far, this hasn’t really happened.

And so, I keep bumbling along.

Why am I sharing this? Just in case someone else is bumbling along right now, not quite feeling the way you’d like, please be OK with it. I know that I will have another productive season in my live. I know that we’re living in a time and place that feels and is vastly different from anything we’ve experienced before.

And so, I keep trying to give myself some grace. Space. Permission to let this time be filled with low hanging fruit. And saying this is OK.

Here’s what I’m trying to do right now. Not give up on myself. Trust in the Lord with all my heart. Keep plugging along. Being OK with extra breathing space right now. Knowing that emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically this maybe the best medicine for me right now.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, can we bumble along together?

On a lighter side, here are a few things that I’ve enjoyed recently.

This story. It’s an incredible story about forgiveness. Seriously. Take the time to watch.

Yes, it’s been a month since the 4th of July, but take a minute a listen this song performed by some members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A few orchestra members socially distance on the lawn of a house and cheered up their neighbors. Listen one of John Philips Sousa’s greatest songs.

This book. I read it over a decade ago. Feeling the need for grace in my life, I recently re-read it. It’s interesting to see how society has shifted in the last 10+ years. Yet, there’s still a lot of relevant stuff here about our need for grace and how we view grace with others.

I close today with this. It’s not original to me. I’m not quite sure where it came from. Nonetheless, the message is one that I feel we could all use.

And let’s keep trusting in the Lord. Not rely only on myself. Looking towards God to keep our paths straight.

For a God who doesn’t give up on me, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – thanks for being patient me more so than I am patient with myself. You know what’s going on with me. You know where I’m struggling. Keep present with me. Keep speaking with me. Help me to keep trusting in You. Amen.  

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Lessons from the Dentist: Out with the Old & In with the New

Gratitude Day 495

Wed., Aug. 5, 2020

2 Corinthians 5:17 – So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!

Twice in the last month, I’ve been to the dentist.

This has not happened in YEARS.

When I went in for a semi-annual cleaning, a few weeks ago, I saw a new dentist. Dr. Dani is new to the clinic where I go. I think this is the fourth or fifth new dentist that I have had at this clinic. Quite honestly, it’s not the dentist that is important to me. It’s the hygienist that I stay with.

Sara has been my hygienist for, well, let’s just say a REALLY long time. It seems that when a new doc joins the clinic, she becomes one of their hygienists. And so, I get a new dentist.

My visits to the dentist are very, very mundane when it comes to dental work. Twice a year, I show up for a cleaning. Twice a year, Sara and I chat non-stop as we catch up on our lives. The dentist pops in for about three minutes, does a quick once-over at my teeth and waltzes back out the door, telling me they will see me again in six months. Sara and I pick up our conversation right where we left off once this little formality is over.  

It’s been this way for decades. Literally. The last time I had a cavity filled was when I was in the single digits.

Until now. Enter Dr. Dani. The few fillings that I have are old and not from the same type of material that is used in fillings these days. Dr. Dani felt it was time to remove these fillings that are old enough to vote a couple of times over and replace them with something new. Little cracks are forming in the teeth with the old fillings. New fillings would prevent further damage.

Out with the old and in with the new.

A new dentist = a new person looking at my teeth. A new dentist = new fillings.

I’m not sure what the average lifespan of a tooth filling is. I’m guessing that I probably got my parent’s money worth on those two fillings. And so, it’s time for a new set of fillings.

Today, I went into a different room with a different person assisting Dr. Dani. Everything went fine and about an hour later, I had two new fillings. For the next few hours, talking was weird and swallowing a liquid felt awkward because my entire mouth was numb. It’s a short-lived price to pay for two new fillings.

Out with the old. In with the new.

As difficult as change is sometimes, new can be good. Helpful. Important. Jesus said that we don’t pour old wine into new wineskins. Only new wine goes into new containers. Likewise, people don’t sew patches from new clothing into old clothing. Why ruin a perfectly new article of clothing?

Paul takes the analogy further. With the arrival of Christ on earth, EVRYTHING changed. He’s the new creation, the fulfillment of God on earth. Before Christ, it was about obeying hundreds of rules. Christ changed this. God and Christ become accessible to all. Jesus pools all the rules into two seemingly simple ones: love God and love your neighbor. That’s all.

While I see the new making more sense than the old, we often get hung-up in wanting the old rather than the new. We’re trying to patch a new and enhanced understanding of God into old garments. And almost ruining the new article of clothing.

I’m not suggesting that we overlook the Old Testament. The pre-Christ on earth stuff in the Bible is so helpful in understanding Christ. Holding the two in tandem IS important. Focusing only on one leads to cracks in our understanding of God. Seeing faith with a new set of eyes allows us to discover new things about God and ourselves. It enhances our faith … not limits our faith.

What’s most important about change and faith? Keeping our eyes focused on the One who is the basis of our faith to begin with. Falling back on the source of faith and making sure this remains the basis of all good things of our faith. When God is a part of change, we are assured that we’re never alone, even when change leaves us feeling numb.

We’re in a time when how we experience faith is changing. We’re being forced to re-examine what church is and what it means for us today. Rather than running away from these changes, let’s sit in the chair with God and allow God to speak to us. Daily. Regularly. Often. Even when words maybe hard to say and navigating these changes feels awkward, let’s keep ourselves grounded in the very One who gives us life. New creation. New possibilities.

For lessons about change while sitting in the dentist’s chair, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – we find ourselves exploring what church means for us today. We are challenged to re-examine our old ways of thinking about faith and community and explore new wineskins of faith. New garments that connect with people. Encourage us to stay close to You as we navigate these changing times. Amen.  

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Lessons from Judging: The Time I Judged at the County Fair

Gratitude Day 494

Mon., Aug. 3, 2020

1 Corinthians 4:4b-5a – Because the Lord is the one who judges me. So don’t judge anything before the right time—wait until the Lord comes.

As a youth, one of the highlights of the summer was participating in the county fair. Held the middle of July, it was a week full of activities, exhibiting, friends, possibly winning some awards and most definitely learning how to lose gracefully.

Each spring, I would go through the entry book and pick out items and classes that I wanted to participate in. In the 10 plus years that I exhibited at our county fair, I tried a variety of projects. Most years, I tackled more projects than I should have. The day before the fair, I would be sewing buttons on my clothing project while something was baking in the oven. We’d still have dairy cattle to clip, sheep to wash and produce to pick out of the garden. It was always a mad dash and rush, along with some very strategic organizing, to get everything to the fairgrounds and entered.

Yet, it was always a memorable week. My paternal grandparents always made the trip for Iowa and warmed the bleachers while my siblings and I showed sheep and dairy cattle. We took turns working in the food stand and participating in various programs. As a young 4-Her, I learned character when earning a ribbon that wasn’t blue and a class winner.

This past week, I was invited back to participate in the Eau Claire Summer Showcase. This was county fair week where I grew up, slightly renamed because, well, pulling off a county fair during a pandemic is challenging.

With significant modifications and regular consultation with the county health department and parks and recreation department (who oversees the grounds where the fair is located), the fair was not a typical county fair. The Summer Showcase was closed to the public. Needing to limit the number of physical bodies on the grounds, organizers strategically developed a schedule limiting the number of people while giving youth an opportunity to present their projects. Items were disinfected regularly and all kinds of other precautions were implemented and carried out. For example, breeding animals were only on the grounds the day they were exhibited.

Months before COVID-19, I was asked to judge at the fair. Trying to limit exposure, participating judges were asked if they would be so kind to judge additional departments. This is why I judged food, food preservation, houseplants, cut flowers, some Exploring projects as well as the dairy cattle.

On the day Hubby Rick and I drove to the fair, we discussed judging. Because I’ve had my projects evaluated and previously serving as a judge, I empathize with those who feel a project has been evaluated differently than anticipated. Sometimes, we’re disappointed. Other times, we surprised with the results.

Clearly, “judging” is very subjective. What I like and prefer maybe very be different from another’s opinion. As I pick winners and champions, it feels very subjective. In a normal fair situation, youth may be present to hear comments and reasons for placings. In a COVID-19 fair, it became extremely important to me that feedback be provided on a comment card. During the dairy cattle show, I tried to explain to every youth my reasons behind the choices, making the show educational as well as a learning opportunity.

In the last few days, I’ve thought often about what it means to be a “judge.” Am I qualified? Can I appropriately explain my opinions and give others permission to have their own opinion? Will I be consistent? Will youth walk away from this experience feeling like they gained knowledge or learned something new? Can we have fun and make this a great experience, even during a pandemic?

It’s humbling to be asked to judge. Yet, I find myself judging other people and situations outside of a fair situation ALL. THE. TIME. I elect myself judge and jury about a situation where I may or may not know all the details. I expect grace for myself and justice for everyone else. I often assume that my opinions are best, right and can explain my reasons why.

Paul wrote in a letter to the church at Corinth to be careful about judging. “The Lord is the one who judges,” writes Paul. Wait until the Lord comes to judge, he continues. God will search the secret purposes of people’s hearts.

Yes, this sounds judgmental on God’s part. Often, it is read this way. Yet, I see SO. MUCH. GRACE. in God. At the end of the day, I think God has a much clearer perspective on judging than I do. Thank goodness.

Part of participating in a county fair, as well as many other situations, IS to receive feedback on something that we do. If we’re honest, there’s a part inside of each one of us that yearns for positive feedback. We want to hear all the good we do and skip over the yucky stuff. For the young gal whose heifer was not cooperating during the dairy show yesterday, I assured her that the first year I showed cattle, I stood at the bottom of a class. While difficult in the moment, it was a moment that I learned something about myself. I discovered that I need grace for myself … just as much as I need to extend grace to others.

I certainly do not have the whole judgement deal figured out. It’s a topic that I go back to and never quite get it solved. This week, I realized this is OK. When I try to be the one who is the ultimate judge, then I’ve lost sense of Whose I am. Yes, I can express my opinion about things and even share my reasons. At times, I am asked to render my opinion. But ultimately? I need to let God remain in the driver’s seat when it comes to judging. And so many other things.

For a not-so-gentle reminder about judging, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – Please forgive me for the many, many times that I felt my judging was so much better than Your ability to judge or someone else’s. Keep right in my heart that You are the ultimate judger; not me. May I respect and honor this in my life. Amen.  

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The Time We Had Unexpected Visitor

Gratitude Day 493

Wed., July 29, 2020

Matthew 9:10-11 – While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Yesterday, we had an unexpected visitor at our house.

Not a two-legged version. No, a four-legged version.

Rick called it a ground squirrel. Our neighbor lady called it a mole. I call it a rodent that needed to return outside.

Bigger than a chipmunk, he wasn’t terribly big and had a tail. Quite honestly, when I saw him move, he zipped rather fast, which was just fine with me.

Hubby Rick is back to work, which means he gets home around sun-up and goes to bed. Late morning when he awoke, he asked me where the mouse traps are. Not sure we have any, I asked why he wanted one. “Something’s been chewing on the manual for the dehumidifier in the basement,” was his reply.

Within the next hour, he announced that our new resident was NOT a mouse but something bigger. With the basement door open to our first floor, our little buddy became brave enough that he’d found his way onto the main floor of the house. Rick saw him scoot by.

So now, what are we going to do?

Rick wasn’t sure exactly where he went. Behind the fridge? The stove? Under the door and into the downstairs bedroom? We wasn’t sure.

We have an exceptionally large two-piece buffet that is original too the house. Both our visitor and I were surprised when I quickly saw him as I peaked behind the buffet. There is a hot water radiator used to heat the house also behind the buffet. He quickly hid behind the radiator, not sure what to do next.

Fortunately, the buffet is in a little room just beyond the rear entrance of our house. It would be a quick and easy exit for him … if he headed the right direction. Not wanting him to escape back into the main area of the house, Rick blocked the possible alternative routes while I made sure he stayed behind the buffet. Soon, he was squeaking at us. I’m not sure if he was hungry, scared or simply wanting attention. At least we knew he was still behind the buffet. Using a broom, Rick kicked him out from behind the water radiator. He came around the door and fortunately, headed towards the light and out the back door.

Whew! Disaster averted. We plan on being gone the rest of the week and certainly DID NOT want him hanging out inside the house while we were gone. We could imagine the damage that he could do.

Of course, all the while we were trying to coax him back outside, Rick and I were discussing HOW he got into the house. We think he came in through a basement window that has had outside access. Clearly, the window must be closed while we are gone.

More than once, Jesus ended up at a house during his public ministry and not everyone was so sure he should have been at the house where he was. He had just called Matthew, a tax collector, to join his inner circle of friends who were also identified as his disciples. Now, a tax collector was not always the most honest of people in first century Jewish culture. Basically, a tax collector would charge whatever he thought he could get out of a family for taxes. A portion went to the Roman government and the rest? Well, the tax collector pocketed for himself as his income. The more pressure a tax collector could enforce upon people while paying their taxes, the more lucrative the position would be.

This made tax collectors less than model citizens and certainly not the most admired of folks by the local church leaders. The church leaders are appalled that Jesus not only asked Matthew, a known swindler of a taxpayer, to join his inner group. Jesus also accepted an invitation to his house for dinner. A double whammy.

None of this bothered Jesus. He went ahead with his plan to call Matthew and demonstrate for everyone that sinners were acceptable and expected within God’s kingdom.

He was a lot more forgiving of who was in the same house as him than I was with our little rodent friend. I felt quite like a Pharisee wanting to chase the little guy out of Dodge and make sure he wasn’t getting into my things.

Yes, I know the situations are different. I am fully aware that this little guy isn’t the Son of God and really needs to return to his natural habitat.

Yet, I know that regularly, it’s SO. EASY. for me to judge others, just like the Pharisees. I question whether or not someone deserves the unlimited amount of grace that God extends each one of us or wonder if God should grant me an extra dose of grace, whether I deserve it or not. I look at what things how I want them and assume I know best. Whereas Jesus saw things I could see and was aware of more going on in a situation than I ever will be.

I pray that we can be more accepting of others, much like Jesus. Be open to see and hear and observe how someone with a significantly different background is loved just like we are.

I pray we see ourselves more as agents of grace than enforcers of the law.

Grace wins over law every time. Let’s remember this the next time we have an uninvited visitor into our lives.

For lessons that can teach us well today, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – may You open my fear to be comforted by You. Help me accept that Your kingdom is much richer than I can ever imagine. Amen.  

It’s Wednesday which means it’s Devos with Dianne tonight at 8 PM CT o Facebook live. See you then!  

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Lessons from COVID-19: I Wish …

Gratitude Day 492

Tues., July 28, 2020

Psalm 86:2 – Guard my life, for I’m your faithful friend, your loyal servant for life. I turn to you in faith, my God, my hero; come and rescue me!

Mid-March seems like such a long time ago.

A time when we ate inside restaurants, attended basketball games, watched movies on a big screen and hugged one another.

While so much seems different today than 4.5 months ago, there are also things I wish we would embrace and celebrate for years to come.  

I wish we would celebrate that COVID-19 ramped up just as spring began. I hope you have enjoyed hours and hours outside this spring and summer. I can’t imagine how much more virus fatigue we would have now IF the first U.S. cases happened in November … right before the holidays and as winter began. Hibernation would have taken on a whole new meaning!

I wish we truly appreciate the little things to the depths of our hearts and bellies: hugging an unseen grandchild or grandparent; an unexpected phone call or card in the mail; time to sit and be; the beautiful flowers and garden produce we’re raising this year. I pray we see these as the very most important things in life and not whether we have the latest material item or the largest bank account.

I pray we remember to purchase things locally and appreciate those who keep our communities running. May we all be more appreciative of our local teachers and school administrators, essential personal and those who’ve kept working for the benefit of others within our community.

I wish we are more filled with grace: slower to judge, faster to assist a person in need and more committed to seeing things from God’s view and not just our own. May we listen carefully when someone has a different position than we do about something and be patient until it hurts. I pray we accept that we’re not the only ones with the best and right ideas.

I wish that we make ourselves more of the solution than the problem. May we bring forth an attitude of easing the challenges rather than adding to them.

I wish and pray we make sound choices these days. For ourselves. For others. For the benefit of loved ones.  

I pray that we depend upon God and not ourselves as these days of COVID-19 drag on. May we turn to the One who desperately wants to support and uphold us … whether we want to be held or not.

For long-term lessons that we can discover and embrace from COVID-19, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – So often, we focus on the short-term when there is so much we can discover when we keep a long-term view as well. Certainly, You are committed to the long-term design. May we embrace and come to You to help us discover this right now. Amen.  

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Wednesday Prayer Day – Where It Begins

Gratitude Day 491

Wed., July 22, 2020

Luke 5:16 – But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

This. This is where I prefer to begin my mornings.

It doesn’t happen every day. Sometimes, two days may go by in a row where I do not prioritize spending time on the front porch. In this chair. Getting my heart right before the day gets going.

But this is where I would like to spend every morning.

On the front porch. Taking care of business with God before I take care of any other business.

Truth? I spend more time reading and journaling than I do praying. Sometimes, well, most every day, I get distracted and spend time scrolling and scrolling rather than focusing and focusing.

It’s just something that I do. For my heart. My soul. My life.

Does it change a lot the rest of the day? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Those minutes on the porch in that chair speak to me. Remind me. Challenge me to not loose focus. Make everything about myself. Remember Whose I am. Recall what a great life I have.

The rest of the day maybe filled with distractions. Too often, I lose focus. Yet, I still believe the time spent here, even if for only a few minutes, is important. Helpful. Defining. Significant.

Where’s the place you go to find the One who created you and offers you unending grace? Send me a photo. I would love to see your place.

For a special place to spend time with God each morning, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Hello God – Thank you for always being with me; whether I purposefully stop and spend time with You. Inspire me to find a little place where You and I can spend time together. Today. Tomorrow. Most days. Amen.

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Lessons from COVID-19: Virus Fatigue

Gratitude Day 490

Mon., July 20, 2020

2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It seems that everyone has an opinion these days.

Should we wear a mask or not?

Would it be best for school this fall to be in person, virtual or a combination?

Is there enough testing or too much testing?

If you don’t have an opinion about one of these or a million other topics related to COVID-19, be careful. You might not want to tell anyone because, well, then everyone will try and convince you that their opinion is right. Heaven forbid that someone has an opinion different from yours. Can you still be friends with someone who has a different opinion.

Maybe. Possibly. Sometimes not.

I’m calling it virus fatigue. We’re four months into this pandemic and quite honestly, we’re all more than a little over it.

And yet, we’re not. Numbers continue to be reported daily. Hot spots are reeling back in their decisions. We live day-by-day, week-by-week wondering whether or not it’s safe for kids, staff, and bus drivers to resume some form of in-school education. Will there be fall sports? While some churches have reopened, some have closed back up their in-person worship and are back online. Other churches are wondering if and when they should begin gathering again. The list goes on and on and on.

Virus fatigue is real and we’re all more than a little over it.

Some people continue to see their workloads at record levels while others are wondering what will happen when the additional unemployment benefits run out the end of the month … and they still don’t know when they will return to work. Will there be another package to help businesses and families and state and local communities that are overwhelmed with additional costs because of a pesky little virus?

Anyone else feeling like this virus has commanded too much of their lives right now?

Campers and kayaks and boats are high demand items right now. As well as trampolines, bikes, and swimming pools. If you want a stand-up freezer, put in your order now for possible Christmas delivery. Sunday, Hubby Rick and I drove to an extremely popular state park about 30 minutes from our house. We planned to wade in the water, go for a hike, take a nap in the shade. After driving past miles of cars parked along the shoulder, we realized that everyone within a hundred miles must have had the same idea. We quickly adverted our plans and headed to a quiet village park along a river where only a couple other families were enjoying their Sunday afternoon.

We’re all ready to do something pre-virus “normal” because virus fatigue is real … and it’s more than set-in.

I think back to earlier generations that endured world wars for years. Accepted restrictions on sugar, tires, and coffee for months and months. Just a few months into our generation’s most devastating situation and we’re quick to blow our trumpet for what we believe in, how we’re being deeply affected, and what everyone else is doing wrong.

I’m tired of virus fatigue because it’s giving us permission to treat each other poorly. To focus only on what we want or what we think is best. We’ve become expert scientists, doctors, economists, educators, infectious disease professionals, predictors, and politicians overnight … all simultaneously. All in the name of virus fatigue.

So, what’s the alternative? How might we discover a less destructive and more helpful way to plod through this pandemic that we’re not sure how long will last?

Let me offer just a few suggestions.

  1. Remember to love God. No matter how difficult this situation is and how you are being affected personally, please, please, please keep the One who loves you and knows what’s best for you in your hind pocket. Please don’t try and do this on your own. Virus fatigue will only continue to overwhelm you and upset you and distress you. When you turn to the One who has enough grace for you, your family, all of your friends as well as your enemies, then, you will discover how deep, wide and big God’s grace is for you as well.
  2. Remember to love your neighbor. All of them. Even the ones you’re not that crazy about loving. Especially the ones that have a vastly different opinion about the status of our current situation than you do. Love them so much it hurts because the truth is, God loves you even more than this. If you deserve this much love, then certainly everyone else does as well. Period. While we often would like to think we should get an extra pass of grace, thank goodness God is a lot less judgmental than the rest of us are.
  3. Follow these two suggestions … and everything else will eventually work itself out. Not on our timetable or maybe exactly how we would prefer. When we keep the most important things as the most important, it’s AMAZING how so much else simply fades away.

Certainly, I don’t have all the answers for virus fatigue. I only have three suggestions. I’m going to try and focus on these things and see how my energy, attention, and love for God changes. Want to join me? I hope you do.

If you need just a few minutes of reprieve from virus fatigue, click on this link. Then, sit back and simply listen.

For God’s grace that has no end or beginning, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Lord God – how fickle we are when we must endure a challenging situation. How often we focus on where it personally hurts the most rather than empathizing with someone else’s situation. How easy it is to assume we have the best ideas and ideas. Bath us in Your grace today. Place I upon your hearts the immediate need to simply love You and our neighbors today. Tomorrow. The next day. Even when we don’t want to. Amen.

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