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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When God Shows Up

Gratitude Day 361

Wed., Nov. 13, 2019

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

It is AMAZING how God shows up.

If we only stop and see it.

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

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

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

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

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

“Be still and know that I am God.”

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

Be still and know that I am God.

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

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

Prayer can also be a verse of scripture.

It can also be words in a song.

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

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

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

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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Wednesday Prayer Day

Gratitude Day 352

Wed., Nov. 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For community through shared prayer, I am grateful. 

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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Simple Things that Make a Difference

Gratitude Day 333

Wed., Oct. 2, 2019

Psalm 116:6: The Lord protects the simple and the childlike;

I am reminded again and again how important the simple things of life are.

I call this blog Simple Words of Faith for a reason. My whole goal here is to connect faith to our everyday, ordinary lives. The “real” parts of our lives. Where the rubber hits the road. Where we find just a little bit of faith and God at the intersections of ordinary, real life.

It happened again for me in the simplest of ways. While I didn’t snap a single photo to capture the moments, I realized later, these little things are exactly what I want to treasure in my daily life.

Sometimes, I am present when three of our grandchildren get off the bus after school. These three are Rick’s son, Darran’s children. Darran runs a milk route. This means he picks up milk from dairy farms and transports it to a processing facility. This isn’t a straight 9 to 5 job. Sometimes, he runs late and needs someone to be with the kids until he gets home from work.

This fall, I have made myself available to do this. Together, the three kids and I spend quality time together.

Ellie is 9 and is into cooking. Well, really baking. A few weeks ago, she told me what she wants for Christmas. She marked some cookbooks and other cooking items on my Amazon account so I would not forget what she really, really wants.

Today, I brought along promised cookie dough so we could make cut-out cookies. As soon as she knew I had brought dough along, she was washing her hands. Her brothers, Waylan and Dylan, were only interested in taste-testing the dough. They headed upstairs to find other things to do.

We used season-appropriate cut outs to make the cookies. I showed Ellie how to tell when a cookie is appropriately baked by touching the top of a cookie and seeing if your fingerprint remains. We frosted and decorated the cookies as well.

Soon, Ellie was looking for a container. She wanted a container, so she put cookies in it, and she take them to school and share them with her classmates. “What a great idea,” I told her. We found a container just large enough to hold all 25 cookies. Unfortunately, the dough wasn’t gluten free. So, one boy won’t be able to eat these cookies. Next time, I’ll know.

I loved how she decided to share these cookies with her classmates. She wasn’t just thinking about how she could keep them for herself and her family. It made making the cookies with Ellie even more special.

After we finished the cookies and worked on a school project, I hunted down Dylan. Earlier, he had showed me a game he was making. Using paper and a pen, Dylan’s game had counted squares on it. Participants roll a dice and move their little paper tokens through the maze to the finish line. On some spots, players receive rewards. On other spots, people are penalized. While the rules changed a bit every time we played the game, I loved seeing Dylan use his imagination. His creativity shown through and included a written list of rules. we discovered that his game was really fun to play.

Making cookies. Playing a homemade game. Nothing big. Just simple things. But oh, so meaningful times that I get to spend with our grandchildren.

I purposely try not to look at my phone while I’m with the kids after school. Our time should be playing outside, making a special trip to the Dollar Store or helping them with something they want to do. Making sure homework gets done. I treasure every afternoon that I get to spend with these important people.

Pause for a minute. What is something that seems so simple but really makes a big difference in your life when you do it? How often do you make time for this? Why is this activity so special to you?

I’m sorry that I didn’t get any photos of the cookies nor the game. My memories just recorded in my brain. But they certainly are special ones.

For rediscovering the simple things in life, I am grateful. 

Lord God – Too often, we get caught up in making sure things get done. And we miss out on prioritizing things that will fill our soul. Thanks for the weekly time with our grandkids. I pray they value this time as much as I do. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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A Whirlwind Family Tour

Gratitude Day 330

Wed., Sept. 25, 2019

Acts 10:2:

He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.

My heart is very full, following several days full of family opportunities.

On Friday, I picked up two cousins at the airport. Cousins Heather and Renah flew to Wisconsin from Maryland because my niece, Carissa, married Jesse, on Saturday. It was a lovely wedding and celebration with lots of fun.

I hope the official photographer captured a better family photo taken on my camera. Clearly, Hubby Rick must have made me laugh and some other family caught it as well.

On Sunday, my sister Debbie and I traveled with our cousins to central Iowa. We attended a 60th anniversary party for my Mom’s first cousin, Jerry and his wife, Katherine in Ames. They have four daughters. It has been decades since we’ve seen these daughters. When my sisters and I were kids, we visited our grandparents each summer. We often played with these four sisters. It was great to reconnect with them at the anniversary party.

During our summer grandparent visits, we also rode the Story City Carousel, which we did again on this trip. For dinner, we visited another second cousin, Butch, at his farm.

We visited various cemeteries. Debbie and I found our paternal Deaton grandparent’s grave.

My Mom’s maiden name was Sowers. We knew of an old Sowers cemetery just outside of Story City, Iowa. Butch gave us directions, to the cemetery, which included “walk between the two houses like you own them. The cemetery is behind the houses.” He was right. While we felt a little awkward tramping through someone’s yard, the cemetery was just as described.

It has been about 30 years since I had been to this cemetery. It includes the founding Sowers family that settled in the Story City area in the mid-1800’s. One of the homeowners chatted with us. She and her husband take care of the cemetery.

We traveled to a rural cemetery where my Mom’s family is buried. We found Heather and Renah’s dad’s grave, our grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents from the maternal side of my family. We drove by the first farm where my parents farmed, as well as the farm where my maternal grandparents farmed. After lunch at a favorite restaurant of my maternal grandmother’s, we took Heather and Renah to the Des Moines airport. Amazingly, they made it back to Maryland before Debbie and I made it to our respective homes in Wisconsin.

While the weekend was a whirlwind trip with lots of driving, it was wonderful to spend so much time with our adult cousins. We never had cousins who lived near by while growing up. We’ve always lived in different states. It was fun to share stories and learn new trivia about our families because we remember different things.

We don’t get to pick our families. We do get to pick whether or not we develop relationships with family members. After years of little contact with our first cousins, we have re-established relationships with several. Life will always be busy. It’s up to us whether or not we choose to maintain relationships with our cousins who have the same grandparents as we did. It’s a heritage built on farming, faith in God and being hard-working people. We commented about how many of our current genetic and personality traits have passed down from generation to generation.

We often comment how important family is. It’s weekends like this past one where I am reminded how important it is to spend time with family, share stories and connect through God.

For wonderful family time, I am grateful. 

Holy God – thank you for special time with family the past few days. Sometimes, it’s easy to focus on how we view life differently from other family members. I pray we cling to those things which we hold in common together. 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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It’s Summertime!

Gratitude Day 292

Wed., June 26, 2019

Psalm 74:17  – You made summer and winter and gave them to the earth.

It’s the season Hubby Rick waits for EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.

Summer.

It’s been VERY SLOW in arriving this year. Officially, the calendar says summer has arrived. The weather just hasn’t quite figured it out yet. Nonetheless, here are just a few signs that summer has FINALLY arrived in Wisconsin.

The garden is planted.

Our garden isn’t huge. It’s really quite small. But we make sure every square inch is utilized. Yes, we’ve left room for things to grow. Slowly, they are. Rick planted several hills of cucumbers. It appeared none were really taking off. So, he brought home a few plants from the neighbor’s garden. He now assures me that we will have plenty of cucumbers.

Notice that long row on the left of this picture? It’s the hedge of zinnias that I LOVE to plant every year. I put them right on the edge of the garden. By August, they should be oh, so pretty.

The peonies are blooming.

We have two different colors. And they are always so gorgeous. We were not disappointed again this year.

The backyard swings are ready for rest and relaxation.

A couple years ago, Rick completed this lovely area in our backyard. He envisions plants growing over the canopy, but this hasn’t quite happened yet. We’re still excited to sit back here and drink coffee. Or watch a fire in the pit. Or simply relax. It’s seen minimal use. We’re hoping to up the ante soon.

Whenever it’s difficult to find God, I encourage you to simply turn to nature. Who else could make grass grown and flowers bloom and tiny seeds turn into beautiful tomatoes and green beans and broccoli? Who else could design outrageously lovely different flower varieties? Who else could inspire a spot just to unwind and enjoy nature?

Only God.

Find God in nature. Today. Tomorrow. All summer long.

For God’s presence in nature all around us, I am grateful.

Holy God – thank you for blessings us with wonderful seasons of the year. Thank you for bringing into our lives big and little reminders that you have designed a world for us to enjoy, explore and observe. May we find You throughout this summer. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Refresh Wednesday – Loving the Things We Have

Wed., June 19, 2019

Psalm 19:10  – They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

I love old things.

I have an old house. Throughout the house, we have lovely old things from my family and Hubby Rick’s family. There are a few old things that we’ve picked up along the way. Like the old manual typewriter that I bought at the neighbor’s garage sale a year back.

Some might even say that I chose an “older” hubby … but that’s for another day.

I love to take some of the older, more meaningful items we have and use them to decorate and add character to our house. This is my theory: if we’re going to have these items, why not use them?

And so, I do.

I took a little tour around just our beautiful porch and was amazed how many of these items I found. Would you like to see them? Good. I’m ready to show.

As you walk up towards our front door, you see these old wash tubs and rack. For years, my mother-in-law used them to do laundry. Yep, these were her wash tubs. They wouldn’t be very helpful for laundry today, as there are rust holes in the bottoms. But I think they still look pretty cool.

Sometimes I have had them out. Other times, I haven’t. This spring, I brought them back up from the basement and put them on the porch. They were empty for awhile until I found these pretty petunias. They really do look quite stunning in the old wash tubs. And they kind of fit into the décor of our old Victorian farmhouse.

Just below the wash tubs are these baseball shoes. They were worn by Rick’s son, Nate. Over nineteen years ago, Nate was killed in an accident. Rick has kept a few of Nate’s things, including these baseball shoes. Rick loved watching Nate play. Sometimes, they even played together. Earlier this spring, granddaughter Ellie wanted to know if these cleats were Grandpa Rick’s. It provided an opportunity to share just a little something about Uncle Nate, who she never met.

We have milk cans at various places around our property. Rick hauled milk from the farm to the manufacturing plant for 25 years. His son, Darran, has continued this family tradition and is the third generation hauling milk. When Rick’s dad began hauling milk, he had a van truck which held 88 milk cans. In those days, many people who lived in the country had a couple of cows and would sell milk the family didn’t need. Most farms today sell more milk in a day than would fit on the van truck that held 88 cans.

Some of the cans are a little rusty, like this one. Others just need a good wash and they could be put into action. We’ve kept a few of the old Vielhuber milk cans and I like to use them in various places. It just reminds me of Rick and my roots of being raised on dairy farms.

This is one of my favorite items. It was my Grandma Sower’s watering can. When I was little, this is the can she used to water her flowers. Before it was vogue to be environmentally friendly, my Grandma had a rain tub where she caught rain and used to water her flowers and garden. I remember dipping this can into the rain tub, letting it fill up with water and then watering her plants and flowers.

Today, I use it to water my plants and flowers. It might be close to retirement age. But I’m not letting it collect social security just yet.

There are many other things, inside and outside our house, which we could tell you a few stories about. Rather than bore you with my stories, walk about your house. Your property. Where you live. What old things do you find? If the item could talk what story might it share?

None of these items are worth any amount of money. But they are precious to Rick and me because they are part of our family history. They tell a story. They bring back memories. They are part of our heritage.

If some of those things are collecting dust in the basement, bring them up to the light of day. Let someone ask about them and share a story or memory that item invokes for you. Pass down the stories and the history. Let the items help be a part of the story.

Our Bibles are basically stories told and retold of God’s redeeming work. We’re precious to God. We’re special and unique. Just like the antiques I have on my porch. Just in case you aren’t feeling too special today, please know that God loves you, cares for you and knows all the details about your special and unique story. No matter how old (or young) you are.

For the stories precious items in my life invoke, I am grateful.

Lord God – Thank you for the old stories and history that are a part of who we are. May we see that our story is just as much of a part of Your story as David, Mary and Paul. May we treasure those things that help us remember our story. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Stunned by Apple Blossoms

Gratitude Day 275

Wed., May 23, 201920190521_102802

Song of Solomon 2:3 – And you, my love, are an apple tree among trees of the forest. Your shade brought me pleasure; your fruit was sweet.

The streets and boulevards in our little town of Poynette are quite stunning right now. Would you like a little tour? Glad you are interested. Let me show you just a few of the reasons why the town is filled with the most precious whites, light pinks, dark pinks and rich pinks imaginable right now.

The crab apple trees are blooming.

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And they are gorgeous.

Driving down many streets, their stunning colors make you want to stop time and let them bloom all summer. But we know they won’t. And so, we enjoy the colors they elude right now.

Recently, I took a little tour around town and snapped a few pictures of these flowers in their hay-day.

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Notice the detail on the flowers.

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The different colors.

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If you look closely here, you will see trillium blooming in the background at our house.

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Right now, these trees are bringing me great pleasure. Their blossoms smell sweet. The sidewalks are littered with falling petals. And I’m drinking it all in.

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What is something this spring that is bringing you great pleasure? Take a minute and express your gratitude towards God.

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For the crab apple trees that draw me back to God’s glorious creation, I am grateful.

Lord God –Thank you, God, for creating these extra-special crab apple trees right now. And for putting on quite a show with their beauty and grace. May their beauty restore in me a deep sense of appreciation and pleasure. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Refresh Wednesday – Lenten Edition

Gratitude Day 230

Wed., Mar. 13, 2019

Matthew 6:25 – (Jesus said,) “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes?

It all started because I was looking for a package of sausage in the chest freezer. And became side-tracked.

Our chest freezer isn’t huge. It doesn’t need to be for two people. We knew our three youngest grandkids would be staying overnight this past weekend. I wanted to see if there was a package of sausage in the freezer for breakfast.

There wasn’t one.

What did I find?  At least 18 packages of boneless chicken breast, two large packages of hamburger, several packages of pork loin or chops, three pork roasts two small lamb roasts and a package of heart and liver. (Why? Why do we have these?) This was just the meat. There were multiple containers of our favorite sweet corn recipe, an ice cream bucket of rhubarb, a few containers from frozen beans as well as tomatoes, a bucket of ice cream, four loaves of bread and two large packages of ice. There were two packages of pork shanks that I kept out to make soup. I found a couple packages of bacon but no sausage. And, some other things I have already forgotten.

All for two people. And this didn’t include the fridge freezer.

Now with an empty freezer, I reorganized everything. I also made a pact: no more buying meat until we had eliminated what was in the freezer. Period.

I know. There could have been a lot more. There has been much, much more. But how did we go from a nearly empty freezer after the holidays to this? Rather easily, I must say.

pantry

Back in the kitchen, I opened the pantry. It’s pleasantly-plump full. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of kitchen pantry space. Our kitchen is moderate-sized. Having limited cabinet space encourages me to be thoughtful about what food I keep on hand. While I want to be prepared, I don’t want the kitchen cupboards look like they could run the local food pantry.

 

Standing by the pantry door open, I also decided to not buy any unnecessary food during Lent. I will shop the freezer and pantry when preparing meals. I will intentionally use up what I have before buying a more food, as much as I can. I will simplify the pantry and my life during Lent by choosing to eat what we have rather than simply buying more.

Yes, I know that we’ll need to buy eggs, milk and other basic necessities. I’m OK with this. What I’m not OK with? Simply buying more because it is on sale or it looks good or I could try a new recipe. I will intentionally choose to shop less and use more of what we already have.

Why is this a good thing to do during Lent? It’s a fasting of sorts; fasting from shopping and buying. Fasting from running to the store for a couple items. Fasting from adding more to the mix rather than trying to have less. It’s making a small sacrifice to symbolically acknowledge all that Jesus gave up for my sake.

Immediately, cooking from what we have officially began. I discovered that I had all of the ingredients to Hubby Rick’s favorite cherry fluff salad. And I made it. Those pork shanks? They became a great base for a pot of soup. We had enough ingredients to make a homemade fruit pizza while the grandkids were at our house over the weekend, which granddaughter Ellie proclaimed as, “So good. Really, seriously, so, so, so good.”

And I sent the leftovers with them.

I find myself drawn to a higher degree of simplicity this Lent. I want to be serious about eliminating some of the stuff in my life and enjoying less. I don’t expect to reduce my life to a couple suitcases of goods by the end of Lent. However, I am determined to live with what I have and be content.

It is so easy for us to worry. We worry about money, our health, our families, our jobs. Can you imagine what we could do in this world if we took all of our unnecessary worry and turned it into positive energy to advance helpful change?

Will we run out of food before this experiment is over? I highly doubt it. If so, we’ll deal with it then. What am I not going to do? Worry about it. Rather, I plant to put that energy into finding creative ways to creative fun dishes with what we have.

We can refurbish little parts of our lives when we make intentional choices to do with less. Use what we have. Bless others with what we no longer want or use. I’m confident that God will continue to speak to me this Lent. I can’t wait to discover what else I will learn about myself.

For the inspiration to shop the freezer and pantry first, I am grateful.

Lord God – forgive me for the many times I have mindlessly acquired and bought. May I see this Lent as an opportunity to live with less and worry less. I pray you will continue to inspire us daily.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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