Saturday Inspiration

Gratitude Day 373

Sat., Dec. 7, 2019

Amos 5:14: Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of heavenly forces, will be with you just as you have said.

Happy Saturday!

I am a person who loves to be inspired by others. I am a person who loves to be inspired by regular people doing little things that become extraordinary things day after day. Here’s a few things that have inspired me lately.

This Mom. It’s not too often that a Mom has three sons playing in the NFL at the same time. But Connie Watt does. Watch her share. The interview is about 10 minutes long … but it’s worth the time. Connie did not raise her boys to be NFL players. She raised sons who would be outstanding individuals that would inspire others. Oh, and she just happens to be from Wisconsin. You may have heard of her eldest son, JJ Watt. He’s not afraid to do big things for ordinary people through his foundation. And Connie helps him do it.

This 5-year-old boy named Michael. This week, Michael found his forever family. He was adopted! What makes the story super heart-warming? He invited his entire kindergarten class to witness this happen! Look at the picture. The hearts Michael’s friends are waving behind him. They are cheering him on. I don’t know all the details of what happened in this Kent County courthouse in Michigan. What I do know? This little boy was so excited to share a life-changing event with his friends. And the school, the teachers, the parents made it happen. Talk about a life lesson. Right here. Right there. A super cool Christmas present wrapped up in all the right kind of love.

A woman named Elizabeth. For the first time in a couple months, I’m sharing a message in worship tomorrow. I’ve felt inspired to dig a little deeper into the story of Elizabeth and Mary, found in Luke 1:39-45. When Mary discovers she is pregnant, she visits her elder cousin, Elizabeth, who happens to also be pregnant even though she’s way too old to be carrying a child. I feel both of these ladies are inspiring: Elizabeth for being so willing to mentor a younger woman and Mary for knowing she needed to seek the comfort of a seasoned woman. Whether you are a bit older or just getting started in your adult life, there’s lots here. I encourage you to spend just a few minutes with this story today.

I love sharing stories because I feel it is through stories that we CAN inspire ourselves and others. How will you write your story today? Who can you inspire with some little random act of kindness? What can you do to express love to a person near and dear to your heart?

For daily inspiration, I am grateful.

Dear God – Thank you for gifting us a book chuck-full of stories of inspiration. We call it the Bible. I pray we use these stories, as well as ones that we encounter every day, to inspire us to seek good and not evil.  Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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And Then It Was Advent

Gratitude Day 372

Thurs., Dec. 5, 2019

Luke 1:38: Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

My name is Dianne. And somehow, I missed the beginning of Advent.

You know, the period of time before Christmas. The time when we are supposed to prepare our hearts and minds and souls for the arrival of the Christ-Child on Christmas Eve. The days that often get so full that we forget to breathe and wonder why and how Christmas became this huge commercial engine that never seems to slow down.

Somehow, the first Sunday of Advent appeared and happened … and I missed it.

Oh, I went to church last Sunday. I watched the first Advent candle be lit. It’s the candle of hope, which says to us that we hope for something outside of ourselves. After worship, people decorated the Christmas tree and set out the nativity scene.

Advent began whether I was prepared or ready or even knew it was happening.

Truthfully, I realized Advent began last Sunday when I sat down Saturday night to prepare music for Sunday worship. I wished to myself that I had taken time the previous week to find a special Advent song for worship. But I didn’t.

Nonetheless, Advent began anyways. With or without me. With or without a special song for worship. With or without my heart being fully prepared to become prepared.

Often, I pull together a little Advent calendar with little ways we can keep ourselves close to God during Advent.

Epic fail this year.

There have been the suggestions floating around on social media of reading a chapter of Luke every day from December 1st until Christmas Eve. With 24 chapters, this allows a person to ready through an entire gospel before Christmas Day.

Nope, I didn’t encourage anyone to do this.

I barely showed up.

Maybe this is a bit how Mary felt when the angel visited her. Completely unprepared. Majorly blindsided. Unsure what this all meant but also ready to accept this wildly challenging but also truly honor that had been laid at her feet.

Mary’s response was only one word: “Yes.”

Yes, I’ll show up and be the mother of the Savior of the world. Yes, I’ll become pregnant before I am legally married, even if this means the potential of being stoned to death. Yes, I’ll carry this baby, even if it means not marrying the man who I am engaged to.

Here’s the little secret: Mary didn’t know it was the beginning of Advent either.

And she still made it to Christmas Eve.

She still journeyed to Bethlehem while nine months pregnant. She still gave birth to a baby in a stable, no less. She didn’t know what to be afraid or scared of. And she did it anyways.

The baby was still born. Joseph still accepted her. An amazing thing happened beyond her control.

Advent can still be amazing. Christmas will be magical whether I get everything crossed off my pre-Christmas to-do list or not. It’s not too late for my heart to be turned towards preparing for the Christ-child.

Just in case you kind-of missed the beginning of Advent? It’s not too late for you either.

For Advent grace, I am grateful.

Holy God – I’m sorry that life got in the way and I’m not really prepared for the beginning of Advent. My heart and soul are still trying to deal with today’s issues rather than finding time to relish in the story from Luke’s Gospel. Please forgive me. Help me accept myself. Give me hope that I will determine just what I need this Advent. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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My First Book Signing Ever

Gratitude Day 371

Mon., Dec. 2, 2019

Ecclesiastes 5:3a: Remember: Dreams come with many cares.

This past Saturday was a special day.

It was an amazing day.

It was full and active, but my heart was very full.

It was the day of my official book launch and signing event.

The morning began with over 30 ladies making porch pots in the original carriage house on our property. My sister Debbie and her staff were excellent. They helped these ladies design and make attractive and beautiful Christmas porch pots. Each porch pot was unique and different; created to match the personality of the person who made it.

We received so many positive comments, how the porch pot workshop was crazy fun. It helped people get into the Christmas spirit. I wished that I would have had time to ooh and aah over every single pot. Unfortunately, I didn’t.

Why? Because I was in the house preparing for a book signing for my first official book that I have published! It’s called The Mary Experiment – When DOING and BEING Collide. It’s based on the biblical story of sisters Martha and Mary. Martha is a busy woman, taking care of Jesus and the other guests at her house. Meanwhile, Mary simple sits and Jesus’ feet and drinks in everything he tells her.

I am a Martha who yearns for more Mary in her life. The last couple of years, I have worked towards finding more Mary moments. The book captures my struggle and journey of trying to implement little bits of Mary into my daily life.

It was not lost on me that I planned a completely Martha day on Saturday. Lots of activities. Lots of food. More than could really be done in a day. But I try to do it all.

I was instructed that my main role for the day was to sign books. I spent a chunk of the day in a chair, personalizing books as I signed them, sharing the story of how the book came to be and reading a short section of the book.

One woman said to me as she came through the line, “I have never been to a book signing event before.”

I responded by saying, “I haven’t either. Today is my first book signing event as well.”

As I planned for the day, I just put it together the way I thought it might work. Knowing that I often take too much on, when people volunteered to help me, I accepted their offer. This is difficult for me and yet, an opportunity for me to practice what I wrote. With lots of help and patient people, it truly was a wonderful day.

Let me share a few other highlights of the day:

For the past 18 months, a group of ladies were involved in helping me with the book. These God Squad ladies would meet with me every month or two. I would share with them a couple chapters that I had written, and they gave me wonderful feedback. While not all of the ladies were able to attend, many did. They presented me with an apron that says, “Hospitality Badge,” which was so fitting! If you want to understand the story behind this, take a look at chapter 5. It will make more sense.

On Friday, two of our grandchildren decided to stay overnight with us. My sister’s family and other helpers were already planning on staying with us. When grandkids want to stay overnight, you make it work. Nine-year-old Ellie was excited to be a part of Saturday. When we got to our house, she immediately wanted a job to help out. Little Dylan came to me and wanted to know if he could have a copy of the book. I think he envisioned a children’s book and was disappointed there are not more photos in the book. I did make sure and point out the picture and Grandpa Rick and me. Both kids wanted me to personalize their book for them, which I was happy to do.

Ellie was so enamored with the thought of me being an author that she asked if I would help her write a book. What Grandma wouldn’t want to do this? Ellie asked for a notebook and started jotting down ideas. I pray that there will be a day when together, we will publish a book. In contrast, Dylan’s favorite part of the day? All the shrimp he got to eat. Seriously. I am told he ate platefuls of shrimp. And maybe a cookie or two as well.

It was so interesting and fun to see people from different stages of my life. I was impressed with those who took time to travel a bit and be present with me. How deeply meaningful this was for me.

As I was thinking about Saturday and a message that I could share with those in attendance, I decided this was the message that I wanted to share: chase your dreams. Go after them. Don’t be afraid. For years, well decades, I have thought about writing a book. It took until I was 52-years-old for this to happen. Yet, I also did not want to wake up one day and think, “I wish I would have tried.” Whether the book is successful or not, I followed my dream. And this feels good.

What dream have you been putting off? Why? What is one step that you can take this week towards beginning the process of achieving your dream? Is this dream inspired by God? If so, what is holding you back from going after this dream?

What’s next for me? I’m not sure. What I do know is following a dream inspired by God is worth the effort.

For God-inspired dreams, I am grateful.

Dear God – I pray that when You place a dream on my heart, I listen. I pray that when You inspire me, I take heed. May You be THE guiding light in my life. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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When Life Feels Extravagant

Gratitude Day 370

Fri., Nov. 29, 2019

1 Timothy 1:11: Sound teaching agrees with the glorious gospel of the blessed God that has been trusted to me.

Hubby Rick and I have been remodeling the upstairs of our house. A few weeks ago, I showed some photos of the master bedroom and our new walk-in closet.

I also showed one photo of a new laundry closet across the hallway from the walk-in closet.

Recently, we had expected guests overnight. Well, Hubby Rick hosted these quests while I was gone. Nonetheless, when I got home, I prioritized getting he bed linens cleaned and ready for our next guests.

With this next laundry closet on the second floor of our house, it makes laundry very easy! I threw in a load upstairs and then walked down to the basement, where we have done laundry since we moved into this house. We plan to keep the washer and dryer in the basement because this is a great place for Rick’s work clothes to be washed.

I carried with me the dirty bed linens from the first-floor bedroom. While I was putting them into the basement washer, water from upstairs come down the pipe behind the basement washer. Suddenly, I felt like my life was so extravagant. Who has two sets of washer and dryers in their house? For 2 people!! Here I was, doing laundry in two different parts of the house at the same time!

I am almost a little embarrassed to share this with others … because I know there are countless people in our community who don’t have regular access to laundry. And yet, I have 2 washers and dryers?!

Today, which is Black Friday, begins a huge push for the next four weeks towards Christmas. People will send ridiculous amounts of money on Christmas presents, whether they actually have the means to do so or not. Too often, we feel that we must be extravagant with our Christmas gift giving because, well, that’s just what we do.

Before we begin this frenzy of buying gifts before Christmas, pause for just a few minutes. Whether you can afford to purchase gifts or not, contemplate why you buy various people gifts at Christmas. What is the purpose? As you buy gifts for these people, do you ever think to yourself, “This person has everything they need. I have no idea what to give them.” And yet, we feel obligated to give them a gift over the holidays.

I maybe late to the party … but before we go all crazy about giving gifts this Christmas, I encourage you to re-think your gift giving protocol. Should someone come off the list? Should someone go of? Does your gift giving feel extravagant and over-the-top? If so, maybe contemplate how you might shift your thoughts about gift giving.

Here are a few ideas to go along with this.

  1. Be intentional about who you choose to give gifts. There must be a more compelling reason than, “I received a gift from them last year” or “I expect a gift from them this year.” Give yourself permission to receive a gift without having to give a gift in return. And vice versa. Gift-giving should be rooted to expressing appreciation … not to keep an even scorecard.
  2. Give the gift of an experience rather than something wrapped up in a box. I love this type of gift. It’s a commitment to spend time with your loved one rather than another navy-blue sweater. Create life-long memories with this person. You both will be glad that you did!
  3. Regifting is OK … especially when you know the item is something the receiver would love to have. Years ago, I encouraged my mom to share things that she had with family members rather than buying something that will not be as well-loved and valued. This is especially helpful when a person longs to make sure someone gets some specific item. Why wait until you are gone to give this item to someone? Enjoy them having the item now and you getting to see them have/use it.
  4. Perishable items are great for people who need nothing. Maybe you want to remember someone in a little way. They don’t need anything, but you’d like to honor them. Give the gift of something perishable so it will be used in the near future. Plates of Christmas cookies, their favorite drink, cheese, fruit … anything that will be consumed quickly and gone.
  5. Write a special handwritten letter or card expressing why you value this person. A handwritten letter can have significant influence on another person. While it may feel easier to send an e-mail, please don’t. Taking the time to actually pen the information is always more special and treasured.

Yes, two washers and dryers feels very extravagant to me. We are blessed beyond reason. I don’t ever want to take things for granted.

I also encourage us to be mindful, thoughtful and intentional about our gift his holiday season.

For blessings that make life feel extravagant, I am grateful.

Holy God – most of us have first-world problems. We have so much more than we need and definitely more than we want. As we go into this time of gift-giving, encourage us to be very mindful and listen to You for ways we can share our blessings with others. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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It’s Wednesday Prayer Day!

Gratitude Day 369

Wed., Nov. 27, 2019

Jeremiah 29:12: When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you.

I’m trying to turn Wednesdays into “Prayer Day” here at Simple Words of Faith. Why? Because I think prayer is this important.

But here’s the deal about prayer. While we may think that what WE say in prayer is most important, let me share a secret.

It’s not.

No, actually, our listening to what God may say BACK to us is really more important than what we say to God.

I know. It’s goes against so much of what our culture focuses on these days. Culture tells us to make sure OUR voice is heard. Culture tells us do what feels good. Culture tells us to make sure your priorities are always at the forefront.

When we look closely to what Jesus said, he had a different opinion. He encouraged people to be a servant first to those around us; not promote our own agenda. Or desires. Or preferences.

In fact, Jesus encourages us to decrease so he can increase within us.

How’s that for being counter-cultural?

So, let’s relate this back to prayer. Often, our prayers are a laundry list of what WE want. We share every request that we can think of. We will God to intervene and answer our prayers just the way WE want them answered.

But this isn’t really how this works. No, rather than just focusing on what we say and want, God yearns for us to have a heart that is open to hearing what God says back to us.

God wants a relationship with us. Not a mandate from one to the other. Relationships work best when both parties are willing to simply listen to the other. Not just hear themselves speak … but truly listen to the other person.

I know. This feels impossible when we can’t even see God. But I know God will speak to us … if we slow down ourselves long enough to listen.

For Wednesday Prayer Request day, let’s focus on LISTENING for God today. Rather than taking first dips of spilling our guts to God, can we pause and simply listen for and to God? Just this one simple request is all I’m focusing on today.

Stop.

Listen.

Yearn for God to speak to you.

May this be enough.

May this be just what you need for today.

We have one mouth and two ears. There’s a reason why. We are to listen twice as much as we speak.

For encouragement to listen to God, I am thankful.

Dear God – forgive me for all those hundreds and thousands of time that I should have listened to You and didn’t. Create within me a deep desire to simply listen for what You long for me to hear. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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The Fish Farmer

Gratitude Day 368

Tues., Nov. 26, 2019

Mark 1:16: As Jesus passed alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, for they were fishermen.

We officially have a fish farmer in our family.

Last Friday, our youngest grandson, Dylan, turned 8. For his birthday, he received a 5-gallon fish tank and money to pick out things to put inside of the tank, including fish.

Sometimes, I am at the house when Dylan and his siblings get off the bus. On Monday afternoon, right away, the conversation steered towards going to town to get fish and accessories for Dylan’s fish tank. Once I confirmed this was OK with their Dad, we headed into town.

Granddaughter Ellie had some money to spend as well. While Dylan and his older brother, Waylan, checked out the fish stuff, Ellie and I found something that she wanted. When we saw the boys getting a basket to put their future purchases in, I knew it was time to head to the fish section.

Dylan and Waylan discussed various fish options; which fish could co-habitat together and which ones would not. A helpful and nice young man helped us sort through how many fish we could put in a 5-gallan tank He knew which ones would be suited for this environment as well as get along. We switched fish out a couple of times until we were convinced the right mix was achieved. We had a long discussion about whether to get a couple shrimp. Dylan didn’t want real plants in his tank, so this idea was mixed. Before we left the fish department, Waylan had a bag with a fish in it as well.

We did not buy any of the pet mice that Dylan was convinced he also wanted.

While checking out, two ladies behind the counter appropriately oohed and aahed over the fish choices. The kids were discussing possible names for their new pets. The only confirmed name that I am aware of is Whiskers for the catfish.

On the way back to their house, Dylan carefully held his fish on his lap. Out of the blue, he asked me, “Dianne, how do you spell your name?” Sister Ellie correctly spelt my name for him.

Dylan said, “Oh, no. I spelled your name wrong at school today.” He explained how he had to write the blessings of his life on a sheet of paper. Dylan wrote my name D-I-E-A-N on his blessings paper. Would his teacher know that he was talking about me?

Truthfully, I could care less how he spelt my name on his blessings page. That I even was included on this sheet? Pure amazement and joy. This is the same kid, who a few weeks earlier said to me, “Why can’t Grandpa be here when we get home from school? Why does he have to work?”

About once a week, I get to spend an afternoon/early evening with these three grandkids after school. Every time we are together, it’s a little adventure. Why? Because we make it one. It warms my heart when the kids come to me for a hug for no reason. Or they spontaneously share something that happened at school. I love creating special little memories that they and I treasure. It’s more of a blessing to me than I am to them.  

This is a week when we think about blessings. I’m guessing this is why Dylan filled out a blessings sheet at school. It’s easy to come up with the “expected” blessings. Try to be more creative. Think of someone who made a difference in your life, if only for a brief minute. Thank God for this person … and go replicate this behavior to some fish farmer in your life.

For opportunities to help little people become fish farmers, I am grateful.

Holy God – It was no mistake that Jesus called fishermen to be part of his inner circle of disciples. These fishermen understood hard work, staying with something, not letting disappointment cloud judgement and working together as a team. May these lessons … and blessings … be something we embrace today. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Our Special Thing

Gratitude Day 366

Fri., Nov. 22, 2019

Ephesians 5:25: As for husbands, love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.

We don’t have a favorite song.

Or a dance we call “our own.”

There’s not one particular restaurant that we have claimed as “a special place.”

What we have is this.

This little message between Hubby Rick and me.

Last weekend, I was gone for several days. We’ve been putting in a new master bathroom in the upstairs of our house. A few weeks ago, I asked Rick if we could PLEASE have it completed before Thanksgiving.

So, while I was away, the bathroom mice were completing final projects.

Rick knows me well. He knows that when I come home, the first place I will go is to the latest project he has been working on so I can see the progress. We’ve done this dance before. He is anxious to hear my response to his latest bit of handiwork.

Rarely is he home when I get home. So, it’s become his thing to leave me a little message.

It’s become our “special” thing.

I have hearts in all shapes and sizes that he’s left me with a remodeling project. There’s the really big one he cut out of cardboard that sappy me still has tucked away in a closet. There are ones on paper towels or a piece of wood or whatever was handy.

There are a couple that I don’t have because, well, it was impossible to keep them. The first message left for me was painted on a kitchen wall. I left if for a couple days, but unfortunately, it was eventually painted over.

Then, there was the message he left me in a bathroom in our former house. We were remodeling the bathroom that I used. This time, he drew a big heart with his special message right on the green board on the back wall of the shower. It was right up by the ceiling and not where tile would eventually cover. Did I mention that he drew the message with a Sharpie? Just in case you decide to do something like this, be warned. Sharpie does not cover well with primer. It took MULTIPLE layers of primer before the Sharpie stopped bleeding through. For a while, we were afraid the message might always be visible.  

Every time I see one of these special messages from Rick, it brings a smile to my face. I never tire of seeing them. I don’t anticipate them … but they sure make me feel special.

It truly is one way that Hubby Rick shows his love for me. It’s one way that he gives of himself so that I NEVER forget or take for granted that he wants me to know how special I am to him.

Just like Christ never tires of loving the church.

Sometimes, we think displaying love must be some big, exorbanent production. Let me be very clear. These hand-written messages that come in the shape of a heart mean more to me than an expensive piece of jewelry. Or a fancy dinner out. They ARE Hubby Rick. They are his tune, his dance, his way of showing me how I special I am in him world.

Guess what. It works.

Who might you show just a little special out-of-the-blue affection today? Whether it’s a spouse, a child, a grandchild, a neighbor, a special friend or someone else, how might you express your respect for them today?

For Hubby Rick’s unique way of displaying our special thing, I am grateful. 

P.S. – I’ll show more of the master bathroom soon!

Holy God – Thank you for loving us unconditionally. And thank you for instilling in Hubby Rick’s heart a desire to replicate this. May we be inspired to express our gratitude and love to others. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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A Runny Nose

Gratitude Day 364

Tues., Nov. 19, 2019

Acts 19:36: Since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash.

Over the weekend, I was gone for a few days with my sister, nephew and a group of kids showing sheep at a show in Louisville, Kentucky.

I left with the beginnings of a cold.

I came home with a full-blown one.

Sometimes, this just happens.

I notice that at times when I stretch myself too thin, my body reacts by not being at the top of its game. My nose runs. I ache. I’m tired but don’t always rest well. I cough and cough. I just feel a bit miserable.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s our body’s way of demanding a little bit more self-care.

Sometimes, we give up and let our bodies rest. Other times, we try to keep going.

I’ve done both. With a variety of results.

It’s November and way earlier than I would like for a cold to settle into my body. But it’s here.

Yes, I’ve drank fluids. And tried to rest. But it’s hanging on.

We’ve all had them. And wished them away. Yet, sometimes, these colds just linger on.

Maybe they are a sign that we aren’t invincible. Are not always in control. Need to slow down. Stop and just be a hare more.

Listen to your body. Hear what it says to you today. I think our bodies try to tell us a lot more than we sometimes give them credit for.

Pause today, if only for a couple minutes. Breathe slowly. Close your eyes. Quiet your mind. Sit still. And listen to you. Your body. Allow God to come into your heart and mind and speak. Just be.

And then, go forward with your day. But only AFTER you’ve listened to yourself. God. The quiet around you.

For moments to slow down and listen, I am grateful. 

Holy God – too often, we expect a message from You to be plastered on a billboard or arrive in some profound way. May we discover that sometimes, you speak to us in the quiet. When we finally slow down. When we allow ourselves to slow down and simply hear. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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When God Speaks …

Gratitude Day 363

Sun., Nov. 17, 2019

Luke 10:41-42: The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.

Self-promotion isn’t my deal.

In fact, it goes against most every grain in my body to even type these words and talk about something so near and dear to my heart.

But here goes.

Today, the first book that I have authored officially launches. On Nov. 17, 2019, The Mary Experiment: When DOING and BEING Collide, is available for all the world to see, read and explore.

It’s a book about life. Finding an appropriate tension between doing, working and constant activity versus being, sitting and experiencing a more realistic pace of life.

This recovering Martha has felt challenged by this her entire life. She still struggles with when to sit. When to do. When to be. When to “git ‘er done.”

I’m still discovering more about this every day. Quite honestly, I’ve accepted the reality that this WILL be a place where I will feel stretched most days of my life.

And this is OK.

Why did I create my own Mary Experiment? Over and over, people have shared with me their struggles with this issue. I’ve watched friends and listened to people opened up their hearts about whether they were making right choices. I don’t have all the answers. I simply wanted to create an opportunity for the Martha’s of this world to know they aren’t alone. And for Mary’s to learn a little more about their Martha friends.  

The real reason I wrote this book? I heard God speak to me. Interestingly, via Hubby Rick. He literally stopped me in my tracks when he asked, “When will the things that I say are ‘most important’ truly become my top priorities? When will I be available for something other than work?”

Rick’s words challenged me to look deeply into the story of when Jesus visits sisters Martha and Mary. Martha is BUSY. Mary SITS at Jesus fit. Rather than saying one is “right” and the other is “wrong,” why can’t we have both? Likewise, what does this story say to modern-day Mary AND Martha’s? How can I encourage myself and others to create more joy, peace and contentment in our lives?

From this context, The Mary Experiment came to life. For the next few days, the Kindle version of The Mary Experiment is FREE! I pray folks will download the book and begin their own Mary Experiment. Just as Hubby Rick needed to get my attention, possibly, this book might get your attention. Or you will share this with someone you know who struggles with these issues.

If you prefer a non-Kindle version, a paperback version is available as well. Here’s the Amazon link for either version: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Experiment-DOING-BEING-Collide/dp/1734228008/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1ZC6CE7Z46H09&keywords=the+mary+experiment&qid=1573937653&sprefix=the+mary%2Caps%2C339&sr=8-1

There are questions and a prayer at the end of each chapter. I encourage you to use the complete Journal and Reflection Questions guide available here for free to develop your own Mary Experiment: https://app.convertkit.com/forms/designers/1110952/edit

As challenging as it is to self-promote something I’ve written, I do so for one reason. God spoke to me. Possibly, God will use me to speak to someone else. It took me awhile to listen. Honestly, I AM STILL trying to listen to God. My deepest prayer is that the words of this book will become an opportunity for someone to re-examine their choices and life. If just one person thinks, “I can so related to this book. I feel like she’s talking to me,” I will feel like God has worked through me.

This recovering Martha is at a sheep show on the day her first book launches. Here’s Black Jack checking out The Mary Experiment before he moves to his new home in Rhode Island.

For God speaking to me via Hubby Rick, I am grateful. 

Dear God – When we are BUSY, it is so easy to keep going and not STOP and examine WHY we are so BUSY. Thank you for speaking directly to me. I pray the words of the Mary Experiment will bless and speak to someone else. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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The Empty Container

Gratitude Day 362

Thurs., Nov. 14, 2019

Philippians 2:7-8: (Jesus) emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.

It happens, oh, about once a week.

I open the refrigerator and find a perfectly empty, but dirty, container inside.

And it always makes me smile.

I’m not quite sure WHY Hubby Rick does this. Maybe to put a smile on my face? But it happens repeatedly.

And not just in the refrigerator. One day this week, I opened the chest freezer in the basemen. You know, the one that holds all the good stuff? What did I find right on top?

An empty, but dirty container.

Rick uses these containers to put food in for his work lunch. They are always dirty. When they appear, I’m never quite sure what day they are from. Yesterday? Two days ago? Last week?

Just once I want to ask Rick, “Why don’t you walk the five steps and put the container in the sink?”

Just once.

Sometimes, I THINK he wants to reuse the container. I know. Eww. Other times, maybe he’s lazy. And then, there are the times when possibly he does it just to make me smile.

Or irritate me.

This is the deal about marriage. I could get upset about the dirty containers in the refrigerator. Or I can smile and let them go.

Maybe it’s not dirty containers at your house.

Maybe it’s dirty underwear on the bathroom floor.

Or shoes right inside the door.

Possibly its toothpaste left in the sink.

You pick whatever it is that sometimes is just a wee bit annoying. And let it go … because there may be a day when you wished the underwear were on the floor. Or you were tripping over the shoes as you push open the door.

And yes, maybe you might long to have an empty, but dirty, container in the fridge.

As I opened the container this week and examined the evidence of what used to be inside the container (pasta with veggies), I had this little moment. A moment when I remembered someone who emptied themselves for MY benefit.

His name was Jesus.

He emptied himself for my benefit. For your benefit. He took upon himself my dirty and ugly sins and did not get disgusted by them. He took them anyways. When he looked inside of me, Jesus doesn’t say, “Eww.”

No, he says, “This is a child that I love.”

And he says this to you as well.

I didn’t put the dirty container back in the fridge. I walked the five steps over to the kitchen sink and put it there because the dish washer needed to be emptied.

As I dropped the container into the sink, I was thankful that I have a husband who does these things just for me. Just so I could remember who emptied himself for me. And it put a smile on my face and in my heart.

For Jesus’ choice to empty himself just for me, I am grateful. 

Holy God – Thank goodness You don’t look inside of me and say, “Eww.” You overlook every awful and disgusting thing that I have done … and love me anyway. Please help me aspire to be as forgiving as you are. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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