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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Evasive Blessings

Gratitude Day 304

Fri., July 19, 2019

Exodus 14:13-14 – But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Stand still and you will see the Lord save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again after today. You only need to remain calm; the Lord will fight for you.”

Stand still. Remain calm.

Wow. Great advice. So hard to do.

But sometimes, these are the words we need to hear.

Hubby Rick and I know we are very blessed people. We preach it. We believe it. We really, really try to live it.

Yet, there are those one or two places in our lives that we wish were different. Quite honestly, these “places” are relationships with people we dearly love. We have struggled with these relationships. We have prayed over and around the through them. Some of the challenges with the underlying issues are not in our control. We struggle with knowing what to do. When do we step in? When do we hold? When do we simply keep on praying?

As a pastor, people have come to me and asked for advice and insights when they are in the thick of a relationship that is struggling. I have tried to listen and hear. When asked, I’ve gently suggested options. I also know that, at times, I’ve probably given really bad advice.

My heart has been heavy because I feel like there is so little I can do. While I can’t speak for Rick, I believe he feels the same way. Yes, we’ve tried to address it. Yes, we’ve bathed it in prayer. Yes, we’ve waited and hoped and dreamed that it would be different. But the changed relationship, so evasive, remains more of a challenge than a blessing.

Then, this thought came to me this week: “How easy it is to mishandle blessings that come too easy or too quickly.”

Stand still. Remain calm.

This is the advice Moses gave the Israelites as they were scurrying away from Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Pharaoh told the Israelites to leave Egypt. He’d had enough of the 10 plagues. With sender’s remorse, Pharaoh realized he had lost his worker bees. The people who actually did all the manual labor to build those beautiful wonders in Egypt WERE GONE! He needed them back. Now.

Pharaoh and his army are coming after the Israelites. The gap is closing in. The Israelites fear they will now die in the dessert. Moses speaks.

Stand still. Remain calm. The Lord will fight for YOU.

Folks: I don’t know what disappointment you maybe experiencing in your life today. Maybe no one knows, other than you. But God knows. God cares. God hears your pleadings and is just as disappointed as you are. God fights for YOU.

As you think about the challenge in your life, it’s easy to wonder: Will this particular blessing ever arrive? Will it look different from what you would prefer? Does your vision of the blessing need to shift?

As I work through these questions and thoughts about my situation, I encourage you: Stand still. Remain calm. The Lord is with You. Amen.

For God’s desire to fight for me, warts and all, I am grateful.

Dear God – You know all the details of whatever situation may be weighing us down today. You know our desire to have this challenge be turned into a blessing. Help us to simply stand still. Remain calm. Keep our faith in You. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Refresh Wednesday – Making My Home My Sanctuary

Gratitude Day 303

Wed., July 17, 2019

Proverbs 8:34 – Come to my home each day and listen to me. You will find happiness.

If you walked into my home, I pray that you WOULD find happiness. Because this is how I long for my home to be.

One filled with happiness.

One filled with joy.

One that immediately lowers your blood pressure.

One that feels like a respite, because for me, it IS my respite.

I love being home … because I love our home. I love a day when I can just be home. All. Day. Long. There are times when Hubby Rick will say, “Can’t we just stay home?” We both enjoy just being in the place where we feel joy. Happiness. Content.

Does this describe your home? If so, YEAH! If not, what would it take for your home to feel like this for you?

One of the reasons why I love our home is because it represents who we are. I love old things. I enjoy things that remind me of happy days. I look forward to walking into our home and knowing that my heart will beat just a bit slower because it truly is a place I love to be.

If your home doesn’t quite feel like this, what can you do? Here are just a few suggestions I have used to make our house truly feel like a home.

First, leave your house. Walk down the sidewalk or driveway, far enough away so you can get a good perspective of your home. Stop and turn around. How does your heart feel? What comes to mind? Are you excited to walk into your home? Why or why not?

Now, walk to the front door. RING THE DOORBELL. Yes, seriously, pretend you are a visitor coming to your house. Open the door and walk through the house. As you do, take note. What do you LOVE about your house? Where would you take me so we could sit and drink peach iced tea? What areas of your home bring you the most joy?

As you walk through your home, note what spots aren’t your favorite. What is it about an area that makes your face cringe? Make a list of these areas and put them in order of “easy fix” to “most difficult fix.” Pick the #1 “easy fix” area and make a date with yourself to fix it in the next week.

Now, grab an empty box. Walk through your house a second time and put anything in the box that you do not 1) love; or 2) brings you happiness. If you do not love something and if it doesn’t bring you joy, then remove it from your house. It doesn’t matter how much it cost. Or who gave it to you. Or why you inherited it. If an item does not make you feel good about it, then move it out of your house. Let someone else love it. If there is something in the box that you feel someone else would love, ask them. Otherwise, put the box in your car immediately. Next time you are remotely close to a thrift shop, happily make a donation. If large pieces of furniture are involved, this might require another set of hands, truck and help. Put a sticky note on it with the word “Donate” written on it. Enlist the necessary help to have the item(s) removed from your home in the next week.

How do you deal with those areas that make you cringe? The quickest and easiest fix is always paint. I know it’s all Captain Obvious, but a simple coat of paint can change so much. Remove everything from the area before you paint. When it’s ready to be re-decorated, only put things back into the space that you love or bring you happiness. Load everything else up for the thrift shop or sell.

Sometimes, an area just needs a little tweaking. I “shop my house” and find something I have and move it to a new space. When you only have things you love and that bring you happiness, moving them into their best location is really easy and fun.

If a space is still looking dull, add some plants or flowers. If you can not grow plants to save your soul, use nice artificial ones. It is amazing how plants and/or flowers make a room feel alive and fun.

Now, if reading this is making you a little anxious, that’s OK. Maybe you feel starting a project like this is too overwhelming. Or not something you can do. It’s out of your wheelhouse.

If a little respite area, a little spot where you can go and be and drink your favorite refreshment sounds wonderful, don’t give up. Find a little spot just for you. Put your favorite chair in it. Have it face outside so you don’t have to see the rest of the home. Make this a little place where you can stop, be and release all those things that fill up your life. Let one little spot be enough.

Whether you filled up your car with items to get rid of or just created a spot for a chair … now, breathe. Smile. Fill your soul with happiness. Be content that your home is your safe place.

For a home that is my respite and happy place, I am grateful.

Holy God – we can find you in so many different and wonderful places. I pray that our homes are places where we see Your thumbprints in our daily lives. May we discover the joy and happiness of creating our houses into homes where we see you daily.  

Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Be Six Again

Gratitude Day 302

Mon., July 15, 2019

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

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

Or at least smile.

On most days, he bats 100%.

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

And I am so thankful for this.

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

Rick is anything but these things.

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

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

And I am so thankful for this.

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

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

And I am so thankful for this.

Somehow, the man never really stopped being six.

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

And I am so thankful for this.

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

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

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

Be six again.  

Be thankful for this.

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

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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Lessons from Reroofing a House

Gratitude Day 301

Sat., July 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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Filling Your Soul

Gratitude Day 300

Fri., July 12, 2019

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

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

Thursday was one of those days for me.

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

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

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

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

And so, I did.

Best time of the week.

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

But we DIDN’T.

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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It’s All in the Pronunciation

Gratitude Day 299

Thurs., July 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

ithaca road sign on a blue sky background

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

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

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

Let’s see how many of these you know:

Oconomowoc

Weyauwega

Minocqua

Wauwatosa

Ashwaubenon

Here’s the correct pronunciation:

O-CON-no-mo-walk

WHY-a-we-ga

MI-na-kwa

WOW-a-to-sa

ASH-wa-bo-nan

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

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

Nope.

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

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

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

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

Thanks be to God.

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

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

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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A Little Historical Story

Gratitude Day 298

Wed., July 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the gift of stories, I am grateful.

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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Today Is …

Gratitude Day 297

Mon., July 8, 2019

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

Please read the quote in the photo one more time.

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

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

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

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

How do we often treat today?

Like it’s not enough.

Or I didn’t accomplish enough.

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

Or take away from what initially was planned.

But today is still a gift. A present.

How will you treat today?

For the gift of today, I am grateful.

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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Holiday Weekend

Gratitude Day 296

Sat., July 6, 2019

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

Summer has arrived in Wisconsin.

Lots of warm, humid days in a row.

And Hubby Rick loves them all.

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

Rick loves it.

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

Rick doesn’t mind at all.

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

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

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

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

More water. Less doing.

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

I pray that I can listen.

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

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

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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