Lessons from COVID-19: For the Long Haul

Gratitude Day 519

Tues., Oct. 6, 2020

Luke 10:42 – The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? 

It’s the 6th of October. And yet, does anyone else feel like it’s been 50 days since October began?

I live in Wisconsin and unfortunately, we’re making national news because of the dramatic uptick of COVID cases in our state. I find myself focusing on things that I have ZERO control over. And this sucks up my energy. And it frustrates me that once again, I let this happen.

I keep thinking that it’s OK not to be as productive these days. And find more space to reflect and be. That being a human machine all the time isn’t necessary. Maybe, it’s OK to give ourselves a break.

A few days ago, I read this sentence:

“Instead, come sit with me,” Jesus said. “Only this is really important.”

These are words that I wrote and published in The Mary Experiment: When DOING and BEING Collide. Words I wrote because I felt maybe others needed to hear as well as myself. And somehow, I got so caught up in what’s going on right now that I haven’t embraced them as I should.

How I wish that we could just sit and have a cup of coffee together.

Share live and funny stories and serious thoughts.

Laugh and cry and get quiet when we have something important to say.

Listen intently and maybe even give a hug or a touch when it feels appropriate.

Know that we’re here for each other … because we all need someone in our corner.

On Sunday, I had my weekly chat with my 90-year-old Aunt Beverly. It didn’t take long for me to see that she’s beyond tired of the pandemic and how it has disrupted life. Yes, she WAS able to leave her facility last week. For the first time in over six months, she received an infusion she historically received weekly to stay off breast cancer. You see, Aunt Beverly has had breast cancer multiple times. But because of COVID-19, she hasn’t had an infusion since early March.

And now, it’s October.

For a brief part of a day, Aunt Beverly “got out of jail” and was able to something that felt more “normal.” Remember – this “normal” thing was a treatment to try and keep breast cancer at bay.

But it was a glimpse of normal.

Folks – we’re in this COVID-19 spot for a while. For the long haul. Even with a vaccine (which we don’t know when one will be available), things won’t quickly return to “normal.” There will still be concerns and challenges. We’ll still need to do those things that slow the spread.

So how do we keep focused and in tune with God and ourselves in these days that seem to stretch forever but zoom by too fast?

Come sit with Jesus. Only this is important.

And remember this: You are amazing. You are special. You do great things. You are loved by God. And You are enough.

Enough.

Today. And tomorrow.

In God, we are enough.

Thanks be to God.

For God’s presence with us in the long haul, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Almighty God – it’s easy to keep thinking the short-term is more important than the long haul. But you aren’t a short-term problem solver. You fix long-term issues with grace and mercy. May we come back to you time and time again and simply sit at your feet. May we know this IS enough. Amen.

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

An Opportunity to Join a Book Study Small Group

Gratitude Day 513

Mon., Sept. 21, 2020

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.”

When I look at my faith journey and think about when I grew the most, it often has been when I’ve participated in a small group of people who wanted to learn more about faith.

Together.

Time and time again, I’ve witnessed my faith grow and expand and discover new things when I’m together with a bunch of folks who want to deepen their faith and understanding.

This is what Jesus modeled. It’s a great example for us to replicate.

That’s why I’m so excited to offer a special opportunity for folks who are interested in exploring their faith on a little deeper level.

Together.

During October, I’m offering a weekly small group virtual book study on The Mary Experiment: When DOING and BEING Collide, the book I published last fall. It will be help online on Sunday evenings from 7-8 PM Central Time for four weeks. Together, we’ll explore the book’s main principles and see how we can embrace a little more Mary-ness in our lives.

I don’t know about you … but this pandemic has kicked my butt. I just find myself struggling with focusing, finding meaning and allowing myself to grow from what we’re learning right now. I’m yearning and longing for a small group that will allow me to really dig a little deeper into my faith in such an unsettling time. I’ve wondered if there might be 12 other folks who’d like to join me in this journey.

The book study will begin on Sun., Oct. 4. Here’s what we’ll study each night:

Sun., Oct. 4 – Intro, Chapters 1-2

Sun., Oct. 11 – Chapters 3-7

Sun., Oct. 18 – Chapters 8-11

Sun., Oct. 25 – Chapters 12-15

This will all be online, so it doesn’t matter where you live! It’s open to the first 12 people who let me know they are interested. I do want to keep the group small, as I feel this allows for more interaction in our time together.

How do you sign up? Please e-mail me at diannevielhuber@gmail.com and let me know: your name and best e-mail address. Once the group is assembled, I’ll send out information about the study and how to participate.

If you need a copy of the book, it can be purchased through Amazon at:

I’m truly excited to work through a book study together with other people. And pray that you will consider being one of those folks.

For an opportunity to deepen my faith through a small group, I am grateful.

Holy God – Too often, we try to grow our faith on our own. Or within a bubble. Yet, Jesus modeled for us the importance of exploring faith within community of others. I pray this book study will provide 12 folks an opportunity to look at life and faith in a deeply meaningful way. Encourage those people who would benefit from such a study to join this opportunity. Amen.

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

What I Learned in June

Gratitude Day 481

Tues., June 30, 2020

Psalm 18:19 – He brought me out to wide-open spaces; he pulled me out safe because he is pleased with me.

In just a few days, we will have reached the unofficial half-way point of summer: 4th of July. Yes, the summer has been different. Yet, I pray that you are finding special ways to fill your heart and soul this summer. I have been! Here’s a few ways.

This book. Years ago, a friend shared this book with me. And it sat on a shelf until this past week. While it says that it is a book about photography, DO NOT let the cover fool you. Yes, it talks some about photography. Honestly, this small 80-page book is chuck full of life lessons. Seriously. These little lessons are ones that we’ve heard before. Maybe I just needed to hear them again. And again. Here are a few examples:

Search for and discover your identity. The better you understand yourself, the better you can make art.

Your personality is the one feature that you own. Use it. Copy it. No one can copy you. Your personality should become or reflect your style.

Most people waste time. Sometimes it looks like they think they will live forever. Any day, any hour wasted is lost forever. You can never get it back. The long you wait, the less you can achieve.

There is always a “Next Step.”

I know photography books aren’t for everyone. But this is so much more than photography. SUCH. GOOD. WISDOM.

Share Your Heart. I always feel a little awkward sharing things that help praise on me. So, I hope you’ll see the true point in me sharing. In the last month, I’ve received two very nice, very sincere comments about my book, The Mary Experiment. The first came from a teenager. She sent me a letter and shared how this book changed her life. To put this into perspective, I’m not sure a lot of teenagers write letters these days. This already says this young gal is exceptional. Secondly, that she took the time to write exactly how she feels she was influenced by someone else. A teenager. It’s easy for us to lump teens into a category in which many spend the majority of themselves focusing on themselves. Lauren is one of those girls who looks beyond herself and is such a giver.

The second person who shared with me how the book has impacted her was basically on the other end of the spectrum from Lauren. Connie celebrated her 85th birthday a few weeks ago. She’s basically 70 years older than Lauren. One day, she picked up the phone and called me. We chatted about a few other things and then, she shared her experiences of reading The Mary Experiment. Again, I was blown away. Now, in reality, one might have expected the letter from Connie and a text from Lauren. But neither happened this way. What did these two situations say to me? When something important is on your heart, please take the time to share this information with the person who will benefit in knowing how you feel. That Lauren and Connie went out of their way to convey back to me something so personal is HUGE. BIG. NOTEWORTHY. And it has made an impact on my life.

Imagine how two people, taking time to share their hearts, made a difference. We must ALWAYS make time to share our heart with the person who we feel has made an impact. It is so easy to be busy, not take time and think they already know. Whether they do or not, take the time to personally share the message.

Sabbath time. Hubby Rick and I have been committed to taking Sabbath time while he is on sabbatical. Yes, he’s doing things that feed him. Together, we’re making sure we take extra time to enjoy life together. Over the weekend, we took about 36 hours of Sabbath with friends. It was WONDERFUL. Time away, if only for a short time, can feed the soul. Enjoy small things. Celebrate little wins. It’s OK to change it up and do things differently this summer.

For finding space this summer, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Even in these strange and different times, there is SO. MUCH. OPPORTUNITY for us to grow. Change. Find space. Help us embrace these opportunities and not be afraid. Amen.

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

Lessons from COVID-19: Should Busy Be a Four-Letter Word?

Gratitude Day 459

Tues., May 19, 2020

James 1:10-11 – But a rich man should be glad that his riches mean nothing to the Lord, for he will soon be gone, like a flower that has lost its beauty and fades away, withered—killed by the scorching summer sun. So, it is with rich men. They will soon die and leave behind all their busy activities.

Things are feeling a bit different these days. Hubby Rick and I drove on the interstate a few days ago. While Rick drives this same patch of highway every day he goes to work, I had not been on it for WEEKS. Literally, weeks.

The first thing I noticed?

The traffic. The last time I had been on this stretch of road, it was a few semis and us. Seriously. Not much else. But this more recent day? Lots more regular car and truck traffic. People like us, driving somewhere, that we had not been in a long, long, time.

In our area, some stores are beginning to open; most with capacity limits. In fact, our beautician contacted me recently and wanted to know if Rick and I wanted haircuts. My reply looked like this:

“YES!!! HOW SOON???”

The salon has multiple safety measures in place, which we will gladly abide by. I know a haircut sounds rather silly right now. Yet, all of our neighbor ladies are feeling very much like I do these days. A haircut cannot come soon enough.

Make no mistake. We’re a long way from “normal.” I still avoid shopping any more than I have to. When it is necessary, I purposely choose times that I think will be less busy than another time. Soon and very soon, I will have to go to the grocery store. We can’t live on condiments alone.

I’ve been having this running conversation in my head these last number of weeks: Do I really want things to return to “normal.” Is “normal” what we really want? What we should want?

Do we want to be constantly –

  • Overscheduled?
  • Overcommitted beyond belief?
  • Unable to have meals with our family?
  • No longer appreciating finding ways to entertain ourselves with our own devices?

There are so many great things that have happened. Actual book sales have soared. We’re having real phone conversations with people and being creative about how we celebrate and honor life events for those we love. We’re planting gardens and sourcing food locally and baking; my, how we are baking. We are walking and biking and playing games outdoors.

Yes, I know there is significant stress around work and jobs and homeschooling and finances and a whole host of other things. Depression and anxiety and stress are very real and not to be glossed over.

How we greet each other may not change for, well, quite a while. Being with a large group of people outside of a grocery store or big box store may not happen for a hot minute. Curbside and delivery and mail order will continue to be more of the norm. Thinking of how our actions affect someone else must be more than a fleeting thought because, well, it’s not just about ourselves anymore. It wasn’t before, but somewhere along the line, we kind of forgot this.

I pray that we use the word “busy” less … and “blessed” or “appreciative” more.  May we focus less on having a “perfect” life and prioritize our most valuable players (MVP’s) of our lives as being far more significant than having just the right accessory for our bathroom.

I read these words from my book, The Mary Experiment: When DOING and BEING Collide recently. They hit me hard because, well, am I living my own words? Not. So. Much. This is the passage:

Rather than trying to achieve a perfect life, let’s put our time, energy, and resources into having a meaningful life. We can be so busy that we don’t have time to live. Let’s choose life over busyness. Can we adjust the size of our life gardens, so they are more manageable? Will you let your list of person MVP’s guide your choices? Will you intentionally develop a personal relationship with God, center it around listening, and allow it to undergird your very being?”

The Mary Experiment, p. 101

Before we rush back to our crazy, over-flowing lives, may we intentionally decide to ease back into life. Put back into place only those things that we absolutely love and bring us joy. Let’s choose life over busy and see how that works for awhile longer.

For silver linings from challenging times, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Thank you for being with us these last number of weeks. As we have tried to discover and reflect upon what truly is most important to us, I pray we continue to focus our daily living on these choices. Thanks for being along with us in this journey. Amen.

On Devos with Dianne this week, I’ll be addressing YOUR faith questions! If you have a question that You would like me to answer, please let me know ASAP! Love to have you join me on Wednesday night a 8 PM CT on Facebook Live.

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

It’s Time for Lemonade and Clay

Gratitude Day 427

Tues., Mar. 24, 2020

Isaiah 64:8: You, Lord, are our Father. We are nothing but clay, but you are the potter who molded us.

How well do you deal with change?

Do you thrive in change? Dread change? Resist it at all costs?

No matter your perspective about change, we’re sure experiencing a lot of it these days. Seemingly every day, there is another change in how daily life exists around us.

Today, the state I live in, Wisconsin, announced that tomorrow begins a stay-in-place order. Thousands of small businesses closed their doors yesterday for now. Will all those doors reopen at some point?

It remains to be seen.

It’s a tough call. Shut down much of the economic engine our country thrives on, which is having devastating impacts on our economy, OR limit the potential spread of COVID-19 by ordering people to stay home and potentially save more lives.

It’s a terribly unfortunate decision many governors, mayors and other elected officials are having to make. I’m confident no one relishes making these kinds of changes; ones that dramatically affect people’s lives. It’s impossible to think there will any winners.

It is such a strange time for all of us. Having never experienced something quite like this, my mind wanders. For most of us, this situation is hopefully a once-in-a life-time deal. Yet, I wonder back to World War II and how folks lived with limited rations. I remember the gas rations in the mid 1970’s and the long lines of people wanting to buy gas. I remember the somberness after 9/11.

In most every previous situation, physically, people came together and shared their feelings and emotions. This time around? We’re told to stay home. Isolate. Limit contact.

I am a person who normally looks at a situation and begins figuring out how to make lemonade from whatever lemons were dropped into our lives. My brain has already shifted and is pondering how this situation will change my worldview, my priorities and where Hubby Rick and I dedicate our resources of time, energy, talent and financial means.

Honestly, I’m still sorting this out. But I pray that when we are beyond this initial scare, I WILL look at life differently. I WILL adjust my schedule and focus on what is most important as the main priorities of my life. I WILL know that the sour lemons that have upset our lives have been turned into lemonade.

Do I know exactly what this will look like in my future? Absolutely not. What I do know is that I want to be intentional about looking at the various things I do and how I dedicate my resources towards God’s kingdom. As I continue to sort through this, I do know a few things:

  • The constant “doing” will be tempered. I will thoughtfully and intentionally choose which areas of my life will continue. Some things will stay behind.
  • I will build more down time into my life; time which will allow for me to draw close to God and be guided by God’s love and mercy.

Isn’t it AMAZING … that we CAN live without non-stop sports? Shopping at the mall? Schedules jam-packed full?

This truly is a time to contemplate the tension between DOING and BEING. Figuring out what God calls us to do and what we call ourselves to pursue. To be clear about what is most important and how do we embody this into our lives.

These are some of the topics I review in my book, “The Mary Experiment: When DOING and BEING Collide.” To encourage folks to pick up a copy who may not have one. For the next several days, the Kindle version will be available for $.99. If you are aware of someone who is struggling with making sense of how God is speaking to them, encourage them to get a copy of the book. It’s a great Lenten read, as well as in light of what we’re all experiencing right now.

Here’s the link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Experiment-Where-DOING-Collide-ebook/dp/B08173NBBZ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2LUZH78HBKNN3&keywords=the+mary+experiment&qid=1585029278&sprefix=the+mary+exper%2Caps%2C185&sr=8-1

I also am feeling called to try something completely new for me: sharing a Lenten devotion time. It will be open to anyone! On Wed., Mar., 25, at 8 PM Central Time, please join me for a 15-minute devotion on Facebook Live. My intention is to make this a weekly devo time, where we can gather on Facebook and just share a few minutes together. I will be hosting it under my personal Facebook name, Dianne Deaton Vielhuber. Invite a friend to join us as well! And please bring your prayer requests along.

I love the image God gives us: God is the potter; we are the clay. God will mold us and shape us if we allow ourselves to let God do this. Maybe it’s not making lemonade right now. Maybe it’s being clay that can we shaped. I pray we allow God to shape us into something more spectacular than we already are!

First step for this to happen? Allow ourselves to live within the tension of DOING and BEING to collide in our lives.

For God’s desire to mold me like clay, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Few of us are willing to ready look at change. We just want things the way they always have been. This isn’t our reality right now. May we allow ourselves to become clay that is molded and shaped by you. Amen.

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

Words Are Important

Gratitude Day 419

Tues., Mar. 10, 2020

Colossians 3:16: Remember what Christ taught, and let his words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts.

Whether we realize it or not, our words often influence others. Sometimes this influence is positive. Our words can just as easily have a negative affect on someone else.

This is a short expert from The Mary Experiment: When DOING and BEING Collide which speaks to how important our words are:

Sometimes, inappropriate words contain more than four letters.

When leading worship, I enjoy gathering the littlest people together for a few minutes in what I call “Kid’s Korner.” One particular Sunday, we were exploring how sometimes yucky things happen to us. Rather than use the word “yucky,” I chose to use a more profound word: Crappy. I should have taken the hint when a few of the kid’s eyebrows raised at the first utterance. I didn’t stop there though… No, I used it two more times with the kids. After Kid’s Korner, the little people left worship for their specific Christian education time. Truth be known, I used the word “crappy” in the main message as well.

After worship, a 6-year-old girl marched right up to me. I knelt down so we were eye-to-eye. Her words stung as she said, “Pastor Dianne, you said a naughty word in church today. Not once. But three times. My parents don’t let me use that word.”

Immediately, I knew which word she was talking about. In her little world, this six-letter word was no different than the four-letter words we instruct our kids and grandchildren not to repeat in public and not-so-public places.

Suddenly, this esteemed pastor learned a lesson. As I apologized to this very aware girl and her parents, I became astutely conscious that what I say, the words I choose, and the context in which the words are spoken, influence people.

Today, let’s choose our words carefully. Thoughtfully. Intentionally. So often, our mouths get engaged without contemplating the words that we use. May my lesson of using wrong words encourage us all to be just a bit more careful with our words!

For words that speak volumes, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – too often, we fail to see just how important the words that we use are. Help us to carefully choose the right words today. Tomorrow. Every day. May our words encourage others. Amen.

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

Make Today Amazing!

Gratitude Day 408

Tues., Feb. 18, 2020

Psalm 145:6: They will tell about the amazing things you do, and I will tell how great you are.

Did you know that today will be amazing? Yes, it will … because you simply are an amazing person! You are amazing because you were created by an amazing God. I pray that you will be blessed all day long.

Today, I’m sharing a mishmash of things that have been speaking to my life lately.

This book. When reading for fun, I am terribly into historical novels. The Tattooist of Auschwitz clearly fits into this category. The storyline is inspired by true events. Lale Sokolov. A Jew, Lale went to Auschwitz with the hope that if he went to a concentration camp, the rest of his family would be sparred. Because he knew multiple languages, he is put to work marking people when they arrive with the number they would be known by.

Because of his unique position, Lale sees and experiences a different type of life at the concentration camp. This includes risking his own life to provide food for other prisoners to keep them alive. Lale falls in love with Gita and hopes for the day when he and Gita can live as husband and wife.

The author, Heather Morris, met the true-life Lale and captured his story in this book. It’s a gut-wrenching, lovely example of how people endure the most difficult of situations. I just became aware that there is a sequel called Cilka’s Journey. I have this book on hold through the library and can’t wait to read/listen to it!

This music. When I’m working at my computer, I often yearn for some quiet, background music that won’t distract me. I’ve tried a variety of YouTube videos, which are also free. I’ve tried lots of these videos. This is one that I adore because it is real Christian songs played on the piano with no music. You can listen quietly to the music doing a variety of things … and no one has to know its Christian music.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/awesome-country-apple-fritter-bread-5618421

This bread. I LOVE quick breads, muffins, and such. Lately, I’ve cut back on carbs. But on Saturday, I just like I wanted to make something. So, I made this apple fritter bread. It’s intended to taste like an apple fritter but without the deep frying.

I would say it’s quite successful. I was even more happy that I made it when a friend popped in for a spontaneous visit! We had cups of coffee and thick slices of this bread and agreed it tastes quite nice. It’s easy and with no special ingredients, easy to make. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of my loaf before it was all gone. (P.S. – Marci – here’s the recipe!)

The Mary Experiment. Several people have shared that they are working through the book with a small group of people. This truly warms my heart!! This is EXACTLY what I hoped people would do! I hope many of you will find a couple people to discuss the book with. Use the questions at the end of each chapter. Or download the full study guide, available here for free: https://app.convertkit.com/forms/designers/1110952/edit

If you live within in a few hours of Madison, WI, I will happily come and join in your group for an evening. It would be very rewarding for me to meet with and hear what others are discovering about themselves as they read this book. Just send me an e-mail (dideaton@hotmail.com) or contact me on Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook … if you happen to follow me there, would you be so kind as to leave a review? You can either do it on the Simple Words of Faith page or the Dianne Deaton Vielhuber Page. When people visit my sites for the first time, they often look at reviews written by other people. If you find benefit from either the blog posts or the daily text message prayers, please mention this in your review. Thanks in advance for providing these!

And if you know someone who might enjoy reading these blog posts, please refer them! I know many of you read these off of social media. I encourage you to sign-up through simplewordsoffaith.com to receive the blog posts as an e-mail as well. Not receiving the daily text prayers? Just text simplewordsoffaith to 33222.

No matter what is going on in your life today, God and I both think you are AMAZING! Go make it a great day!

For a God who created each of us as amazing people, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Hi God – You truly are amazing. When I see your fingerprints in my life, the lives of others and in the world around us, I pray that I will never stop being amazed as well. Thank you for always being with me. Amen.

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

Simple Saturday

Gratitude Day 393

Sat., Jan. 25, 2019

1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light.

Just in case no one has told you this week … YOU ARE AMAZING!

You are a special person, created by God, to do great things for God’s Kingdom!

Each day, you extend kindness and do great things for God’s kingdom. You put others first and find a way to make things work.

Thanks for being AMAZING!

Now … just a few things I’m thinking about this day.

Yesterday, I donated blood. It’s just a small way that I could extend kindness to someone else. Each day, I’m sharing a photo from my day and a few thoughts about how this little thing is a part of my daily spiritual journey. To see these thoughts, please Facebook friend me at Dianne Deaton Vielhuber or follow me on Instagram at diannedeatonvielhuber. I know not everyone has social media … so I’ll try to share here sometimes as well.

Two months ago, I launched The Mary Experiment. It’s been such a rewarding experience! Every week, someone sends me an e-mail or tells me how the book has helped them. I LOVE THIS! My deepest desire in writing this book was to inspire and encourage others. So, thanks for sharing … and please continue to do so. If you haven’t purchased the book, it’s available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback versions.

People share with me how much they enjoy the reflection questions and prayers at the end of each chapter. I would LOVE to have conversations with people about The Mary Experiment and encourage others to reflect on their own personal journey. How can this happen? We could have a book signing at a location near you. I could visit a small group you are a part of and we could dig deeper into the reflection questions or go through some of the free devotional guide. I would love to speak to a any size group about my experiences. Honestly, I am open to anything! If you have an idea of how I can be a part of something you are aware of or a part of, please contact me. Let’s have a conversation! It makes my heart so happy when others share with me their experience of reading the book. Let’s help make it available to more people!

Promise to take a few minutes for YOURSELF today. Do something that you love, enjoy or relish time to do. Make it 15 minutes or 30 minutes or a full hour! Hit the pause button on life and do something that fills you up and restores you. Find a little way to include some Mary time in your life. Drink it in. Celebrate it. Remember that YOU are AMAZING! Thanks for reading along here at Simple Words of Faith. I appreciate everyone of you AMAZING people!

For all the AMAZING people who I get to share life with, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – may we appreciate this day and being part of You AMAZING family. I pray we never take this for granted. Amen.

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

When Martha is in Overdrive

Gratitude Day 374

Fri., Dec. 13, 2019

Luke 10:38: By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So, Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.”

Imacon Color Scanner

The irony is NOT lost on me. In this time period when I have just published my first book, I feel life is a bit out-of-control.

What makes it even more ironic?

The book is about slowing life down. Ideas for busy-body Martha’s to discover that sitting at Jesus’ feet is absolutely necessary. How to be more aware and intentional about what we do and how we do it.

In the last month since the book officially launched, my schedule has been, let’s say, tight. Crowded. Full.

Oh, Ms. Martha Dianne, will you ever learn?

This is exactly why I call myself a recovering Martha. She still has lots of opportunity for improvement.

I often remember the well-known words from the found in the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes: “To everything there is a season …” Yes, some days are simply seasons of longer to-do lists than other seasons.

When I find myself in a more-than-unusually busy period, I often tell myself that this season is just for a “period.” It’s not how things will be forever. I just need to make it through this season. Overdrive lasts for awhile … but is not a good long-term solution.

Some of these over-full seasons are just for a day or two. Other seasons encompass a week or two. Possibly month. While in seminary, I felt that I just needed to keep myself alive while juggling school, two churches AND a new husband for a couple years.

If you feel like you are in a season with more going on these days, slow down. Pick only what MUST be done today. Find moments to be. Relish these moments. Remind yourself that it is just for a season.

If you find yourself in a very Martha-like season right now, give yourself permission to accept this season. But set an end-date. Stick with this date. Be OK with this busy season as it is not for forever.

To everything there is a season. No matter what season you are experiencing right now, love it. Celebrate it. Honor it. Relish it.

 Celebrate being a Martha who is seeking more Mary-ness in their lives.

Holy God As we accept the season of life we are in today, may we accept this responsibility with intention. May we relish the season we find ourselves in today. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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

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

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