Please Never Stop saying “Thank You”

Gratitude Day 337

Fri., Oct. 11, 2019

Philippians 1:3: Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.

It’s amazing how two words can carry so much weight. Impact. Opportunity.

“Thank you.”

It takes like 1.2 seconds to say these two little words. But, oh, the impact they can have.

I’m not sure who developed the concept of giving thanks. Or saying, “Thank you.” Well, maybe I do but that’s my own idea. Thank God, literally, that these words became part of the English language.

They are two of my favorite words.

My Mom taught me well. When someone does something for you, send them a thank you. Other times to send one? When someone is especially nice. Or extremely thoughtful. They deserve a thank you. A handwritten thank you. On real paper. With a stamp on the envelope so it can go through the mail.  

I’ve written hundreds of thank you notes. Well, probably more like thousands. At one point, I thought owning stock in Hallmark might be a good idea. When in a store that sells cards, I often swing by this section just to see what they have for notecards. And thank you cards. Something that I can use to write a note to someone else. I remember all the options that I have at home … and still, sometimes walk out of the store with more options.

As much as I love sending cards, receiving a thank you card always makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Did someone send it to me because their Mom insisted on sending out thank you’s as well? Or is it a heart-felt thank you?

Last night, I received a thank you from a group of high school girls. Completely unexpected. Wasn’t on my radar screen. So, when it ended up in my hands, I felt a little giddy opening up. What would be inside?

The sweetest message from 10 high school seniors.

It made me feel special. Appreciated. Glad that I was able to do something special for them.

Know how to make someone feel special today? Send them a card. A note. A thank you. Make someone’s day.  

I pray that saying “thank you” never goes out of style. We need people in every generation and of all ages to know the importance of doing this.

There’s power in words. There’s power in, “Thank you.”

The question came from the back seat of the car. Articulated by our seven-year-old grandson, Dylan.

For remembering the power of “thank you,” I am grateful. 

Dear God – How shallow life would be without the words, “Thank you.” Thanks for creating a way for humans to express appreciation. Place in my heart and mind someone that I can bless with a thank you today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Acceptance

Gratitude Day 329

Tues., Sept. 24, 2019

Romans 15:7: Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Acceptance is such a hard thing.

Acceptance of ourselves.

Acceptance of situations we can’t control.

Acceptance of someone else.

Acceptance of letting go.

Acceptance of disappointments.

Acceptance of unfulfilled dreams.

Acceptance of new situations.

Acceptance of change.

Not accepting ourselves? Then, we are saying to God, “I’m not good enough.”

What an awful thing to say to the One who created us.

Be gracious today. Be patient. Be loving. Be accepting.

For the constant lesson of acceptance, I am grateful. 

Dear God – Why is it so easy for you to accept me … and so difficult for me to accept others?  Myself? Situations out of my control? Bless me with a new understanding of acceptance today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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10,000 Practices

Gratitude Day 314

Thurs., Aug. 8, 2019

Isaiah 49:8 – At the right time I heard your prayers. On the day of salvation, I helped you.

Sometimes, we just need a little practice.

Or maybe, a lot of practice.

Professional athletes will repeat the same action over and over. Then, when they are in a situation while competing, their body will automatically perform a certain function. Their brain will not have to think. It will simply do.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Josh Jackson high-fives fans while riding a bike to practice at the first day of training camp on July 25, 2019 in Green Bay, Wis. Gpg Trainingcamp 072519 Sk32

They practice the same action at least 10,000 times.

Bakers and chiefs will make the same food over and over. Until it is just right. Tweaks here and there to their recipe until the food simply melts in your mouth and it tastes heavenly.

They make the same item for what seems like 10,000 times before it is just right.

There are things that I do without even thinking about them. Brush my teeth. Make coffee in the morning. Put gas into the car. I’ve done these things more than 10,000 times. I’ve practiced and practiced these actions to the point that I don’t think about them when I do them. My body knows just what to do. I’ve done them so often, sometimes, I stop and question if I did them today or not.

When it comes to prayer, why do we expect our prayers to be one-and-done? Why do we only say them once and expect the answer immediately? Why are we so impatient and anticipate that God will answer them as soon as we have spoken the words?

Why shouldn’t we view prayer more like requiring 10,000 practices before we get an answer?

Why aren’t we committed to practicing prayer over and over before we might get it right?

Why should God answer a prayer before we are so vested into a prayer that we’ve prayed it so many times that we don’t even have to think about it anymore?

The problem with prayer? We say it once. Or twice. Maybe three times. And if God does not answer it immediately, we conclude that “God doesn’t answer our prayers.” Maybe, our approach should be that we need to keep practicing prayer. Saying the same one, or slightly modified prayer, over and over, until we truly become prayer experts.

And as we do this, see how we change in the process. See how our faith grows and changes. See how God works in and through our lives because we want to become prayer experts so badly. Maybe, if we commit to praying over and over the same prayer, we begin to truly understand what prayer is.

Before you give up on prayer, commit to praying the same prayer 10,000 times. Give God 10,000 reasons why your prayer should be heard. Commit to the process. See what happens. You might be amazed at the results.

For a willingness to commit to prayer for the long-haul, I am grateful.

Dear God – Forgive us for the times we gave up on prayer way too early. Forgive us for our short-sighted times of skipping out of being a true prayer warrior. Instill in us the desire to truly become a person who has prayed so much, over and over. May we desire to become followers with at least 10,000 prayer practices. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Never Ending Smiles

Gratitude Day 312

Thurs., Aug. 1, 2019

Luke 18:15-17 – Some people brought even their babies to Jesus so he could touch them. When the followers saw this, they told them to stop. But Jesus called for the children, saying, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to people who are like these children. I tell you the truth, you must accept the kingdom of God as if you were a child, or you will never enter it.”

Look carefully at the smiles in the pictures with this post. They will make your day. The kids, the players, the people standing by; they all have smiles.

Jul 25, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (81) rides a bicycle to the first day of training camp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The National Football League (NFL) started training camp this week. The Green Bay Packers have a long-standing and super cool tradition. Kids line-up with their bikes by Lambeau Field. They are hoping and waiting for a player to pick their bike and ride it across the street to the practice field.

The parade of bikes going from one location to the next on a specified route is something some Wisconsin kids look forward to all summer. It truly is one of the best traditions in all of the NFL.

Jul 25, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Curtis Bolton (40) rides a bicycle to the first day of training camp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Notice grown men riding pink Barbie bikes. Sometimes with training wheels. Or 300 lb. guys trying to balance themselves on bikes that weight less than they do. One in a while, there will be a Packer player who finds a cool bike on which they almost fit. And then, they pedal past the thousands of people line-up and high-five them as they ride by.

The kids walk along side the player riding their bike. Usually, they carry the player’s helmet.

I have no clue who came up with this idea. Or how it started. But it’s a good one.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Josh Jackson high-fives fans while riding a bike to practice at the first day of training camp on July 25, 2019 in Green Bay, Wis. Gpg Trainingcamp 072519 Sk32

Sometimes, we forget to enjoy the amazement and awe of a child. These kids may or may not know who the player is riding their bike. The who is not nearly as important as the why. These kids just want 30 seconds of feeling like someone saw them. They look forward to connecting with these guys who is wearing green and gold. Whether the players realize it or not, they are making the day for all those little people whose bikes they are riding.

Sometimes, we like to protect “important” people from people on the fringes. People who are too young or from the wrong social class from coming into contact with a very important person. Jesus broke down these barriers when he demanded that the children has the same access to him as adult people.

Maybe Jesus needed a break from all the postulating adult people he often had to deal with. Maybe he just wanted to laugh. Possibly, he was trying to make a point. Whatever the reason, I’m sure glad he told those present, and says to us today, “Accept the kingdom of God as a child. Otherwise, you won’t get to experience it.”

We know professional sports are big business. Unfortunately, some of those guys riding bikes today will not make the final Packer’s roster. Do the kids who brought their bikes to Lambeau Field today really care? I just don’t think so. For today, getting to hold the helmet of someone they looked up to was enough.

Think about the kids who gathered around Jesus. Did they really know who this man was … or were they so excited that an adult wanted to play Legos with them? That day, playing Legos or whatever game first century Jewish kids played, was enough.

Jul 25, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packer Mason Crosby (2) rides a bicycle to first day of training camp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

How might you engage with a young person today in a manner that will be enough for them? Go for a bike ride. Take them for ice cream. Play catch. Color with them. Spending time with them will put a smile on their face. Most likely, it will plaster one on your face as well. There is a good chance it may be a day that the kid won’t forget for a very long time.

For lessons from children that never grow old, I am grateful.

Holy God – forgive us for forgetting to look at the world and life through the eyes of a child. Restore some childlike qualities in us today. May we find a little person with whom we can share a special moment today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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What I Learned in July

Gratitude Day 311

Wed., July 31, 2019

Luke 21:30 – When their leaves appear, you know that summer is near.

It seems like a couple days ago, it was July 4th. But here it is … the end of the month of July. And here are a few thoughts about what I’ve learned this last month.

Make Time for Fun in the Summer

I’m not always very good with leisure. Or, I don’t build into my life the right kind of restful and relaxing leisure. In July, I wanted to be more intentional about spending time doing things that refresh my soul.

Last summer, we bought two kayaks. And this summer, we are using them! No, not every day. But almost weekly. Last weekend, Rick wanted to go fishing. This just isn’t my thing. So, I took along a kayak and exercised in my own way while he tried to catch us supper. Instead, we stopped for a bite to eat on the way home.

When I think of Summer, I think of the County Fair

Truly, for as long as I can remember, July has always been county fair month. Growing up, my siblings and I exhibited animals and other projects at our local fair. This summer, Hubby Rick and I watched our grandson Waylan show beef cattle at his fair. Last week, I spent time with my nephew at his county fair. This is also the fair where his friend Grant made a wonderful donation to a classmate who is going through brain cancer.

I am so glad that I was able to participate in 4-H, FFA and other youth organizations. Why? Because I learned so many valuable lessons. The statistics are real. Kids who participate in 4-H and FFA are more likely to give back to their local communities as adults. They learn parliamentary procedure and how to run a meeting. They develop leadership skills early on. They learn responsibility, teamwork and how to lose gracefully.

I know that 4-H and FFA may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I will say this. The lessons and friendships I developed through these groups last a lifetime.

While at the county fair where I exhibited as a youth, I ran into two high school friends, Pam and Rita. We sat for an hour at a picnic table and just visited. Growing up, our families all attended the same church. Rita and I also spent lots of time together in 4-H. Now, she was at the fair to watch her niece show animals, just as I was there to watch my nephew.

If we want our kids and grandkids to develop into adults that contribute to our communities and understand the importance of giving to others, we need to help them develop these values now. Encourage them to become involved in organizations that will foster these lifelong skills.

Make Time for Relationships

As fun as it was to visit with Pam and Rita, I also spent time with some college friends as well. It was just a couple hours. But every time I meet up with these ladies, I feel like no time as passed. It’s easy and fun to catch up with each other’s lives. We laugh, we share and sometimes, we get onto topics that are hard to explore.

It’s difficult to get a group of friends together these days. So, when we can get even just a few, it’s a great day. Think of someone who you haven’t had contact with for a while and make a date to do something fun together. I know you won’t regret it.

Fun Summer Book

If you are looking for a lovely novel to read this summer while sitting on your porch or in a swing or while on vacation, consider Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly. It is the story of four women during World War I. Three are Russian and one is an American. It’s an excellent historical fiction novel that gives a perspective of what happened in Russia when the Russian imperial family was removed from power and the Bolshevik’s come to power. I love to listen to books on tape while in my car. This one held my attention and sometimes, I was sad to reach my destination versus continuing the book.

Let’s Not Wish Away these Last Wonderful Days of Summer

I know it will soon be time to start thinking and planning for fall. But let’s not become so focused on what’s to come that we fail to enjoy the here and now. Every single day is a gift. Enjoy every last day of summer. Make time to sit by a fire, kayak and watch the sun go down, go for a walk where you can truly enjoy the flowers of the season and take in a local celebration. These days are special days. Let’s make the most of them!

Being able to love every day of this summer, I am grateful.

Almighty God – It’s sometimes so difficult to imagine how You continue to love us, even when we make it difficult to be loved. Yet, you never stop loving and caring for us. May we deeply desire to be true agents of love rather than hurt, disappointment and self-centeredness. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Be Six Again

Gratitude Day 302

Mon., July 15, 2019

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

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

Or at least smile.

On most days, he bats 100%.

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

And I am so thankful for this.

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

Rick is anything but these things.

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

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

And I am so thankful for this.

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

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

And I am so thankful for this.

Somehow, the man never really stopped being six.

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

And I am so thankful for this.

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

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

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

Be six again.  

Be thankful for this.

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

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Gratitude Post 293

Sat., June 29, 2019

Acts 24:23 – He then ordered the army officer to keep Paul under guard, but not to lock him up or to stop his friends from helping him.

If you know the lyrics, sing along with me: “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name …”

Can you envision Norm sitting on the corner bar stool at Cheers while Diane goes into a long dissertation?

I can. But Norm keeps coming back to Cheers because this is where everyone knows his name. This is where he has friends.

Friends. They are special people. When I was in seminary, I hung out with a group of friends. Often on school nights, we would gather in one of another’s room at 10:30 PM, take a study break and watch a rerun episode of “Friends.” We all perfected Joey’s, “How you doin’” line with just the right inflection. Karen was a bit like Phoebe. Stan was a bit like Joey. Dick was a bit like Ross. Tim was a bit like Chandler. And I was a bit like Monica. As we watched episodes we knew by heart, it felt just a little like hanging out together at Central Perk.

I am extremely fortunate. I have multiple groups of friends that I keep in touch with. From different stages of my life, some of these friends have been friends for multiple decades.

These are some friends that I hung out with this week. They are friends through my part-time agriculture job. Some of them I had met previously; some are new friends. This group is unique because they represent multiple countries around the world.

Some know English quite well. For others, a translator was extremely helpful. Together, we shared information about out mutual connection: our work. They were aware that I work part-time for this company and of my other role as a pastor. As I spoke to the group about marketing tips, I mentioned that marketing Jesus and marketing semen isn’t really all that different. Some of the underlying tactics are the same. This comment received a hearty laugh from everyone in the room.

While these people live in various countries around the world, I will continue to work with these friends. Yes, it most likely will be via e-mail or social media or another communication vehicle. We will remain connected through a group chat that one of the friend’s set-up.

Friends come into our lives for different reasons, lengths of time and level of intimacy. Every time I have the opportunity to make new friends, I am amazed at how God allows me to meet someone who will encourage me, support me and help me grow. I pray that this is mutually beneficial for both people in the relationship.

On this day, think of some old friends you have had for years. Think of a friend that maybe you’ve lost touch with. Think of a relatively recent person you became acquainted with that has become a friend. Finally, thank God for all of those friends. I pray that as you go through this little and quick exercise, your heart will be filled and our soul bursting.

While we may not always speak the same language, live in the same time zone or have the same priorities in our lives, we can usually find something in common with a potential friend. These common threads pull us together and allow us to discover something new about ourselves and the world we live in. Sometimes, these meetings feel like chance outings. Others, we wonder if someone just “happened” into their lives by accident. My guess is God helps align certain opportunities, so we have opportunity to grow and experience new things via a new friend.

If you have a little free time today, contact one of those friends whom you haven’t heard from awhile. Maybe they will be just as excited to hear from you as you are to visit with them.

I’m convinced God brings specific people into our lives at various times to help guide us through things. Be thankful for these people along the way. I pray you see just how much they have enriched your life. Because don’t we all like it when someone knows our name?

I am grateful for the friends with whom I spent time this weej.

Holy God – thank you for all the various friends you have brought into my life. I pray that I am half as important in their lives as they are in my life.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Those Oh, So Silly “Treats” in My Life

Gratitude Day 285

Fri., June 14, 2019

1 Timothy 1:15 – Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

The past several weeks, I have been blessed with many great opportunities. Ways that I have had an opportunity to be involved with, participate, serve or help someone else.

In case you missed it, “blessed with many great opportunities” is code for “I struggle with saying, ‘No.’”

I’m the type of person who can say “Yes” to nearly everyone except herself. I can and will re-arrange my schedule to accommodate any request … unless the request is for my personal wellbeing or care. Then, everyone else’s request takes precedence.

When I feel like I’ve had a very full day or I haven’t prioritized time to exercise or quiet my soul, I often “treat” myself to something unhealthy, trashy or a complete time waster.

But, oh, it feels so good.

I know. Instead of watching an episode of some ridiculous television show that is certainly not based on reality, I should go for a walk or a run. Rather than fill more time with something that can only be defined as a means of escaping my overcommitments, it would be more constructive if I cared for my heart and soul. But instead, I treat myself to ice cream. There’s a reason I do not regularly keep ice cream in the house. I’d easily weigh 300 pounds if I did.

So why do I convince myself that I can speed through a pre-recorded silly TV show in two-thirds the time by skipping all commercials but don’t feel I have time to read a great book? Or how can it be that my anxiety level seems to immediately lower the moment any flavor of ice cream melts in my mouth?

Because I struggle with caring for myself, I allow myself to “treat” myself to something that definitely is not a treat but simply a “break” from the real world. It’s an escape. A time waster that allows me to step out of my sinful nature and relish, “Well, at least I’m not like her …”

Oh, the mind gymnastics we allow ourselves to play.

I know it would be far more helpful to read something helpful or well-written than slump down into a comfy chair in front of the TV. Or just allow our tired and weary soul a chance to be. But instead, I convince myself that a small treat or reprieve is justified.

When your heart or soul is tired, is there some silly “treat” you allow yourself to experience? Like me, do you feel a little guilty about it … but not enough to change your behavior? How do you move away from feeling you “deserve” this silly escape and direct your behavior towards something more positive and helpful?

Today, I’m grateful that I know a God who overlooks my silly choices and behaviors. Who accepts me the way I am and loves me in spite of when I make less-than-desirable choices.  Who doesn’t give up on me.

For God’s acceptance of me, I am grateful.

Lord God – thanks for accepting me, warts and all. Thanks for overlooking my shortcomings and poor choices. Thanks for accepting me the way I am. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Kindness Starts at Home

Gratitude Day 282

Fri., June 7, 2019

Romans 12:3 – I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “A little bit of kindness goes a long way.”

One of Hubby Rick’s favorite sayings is, “It’s easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Recently, I saw this saying and thought it was spot on:

Often, people will say to me, “She/he was a good person.” Most often, I hear this when I am preparing someone’s funeral. I find it interesting that “good” is the default word often used. To me, “good” is such a subjective term. What I consider “good” may or may not be what you determine as “good.”

But when it comes to kindness, I think it’s much easier to have a more equal kindness scale. Yes, people make rank certain things higher on the kindness scale. But we can theoretically agree what should even approach the kindness list:

  • Holding the door for someone.
  • Saying “please” and “thank you.”
  • Going out of a one’s way to do something for someone else.
  • Picking up the tab for a meal.
  • Giving a bouquet of flowers for no reason at all.
  • Taking time to visit with someone.
  • Acting interested in something a person you know is participating in.
  • Dropping whatever you are doing to help someone in need.
  • Passing over something you want and giving it to another person instead.

Yes, there are hundreds and thousands of other ways to be kind to someone else. Some of these things take seconds to do. Others can take hours or days or weeks.

We also can quickly identify when kindness could have been extended … and it wasn’t. Most often, it would have taken 30 seconds or less. And the choice is made not to do it. Unfortunately, the lack of kindness often becomes the focus on the relationship rather than applauding some kind gesture that did happen.

I’ve been the receipient of many kind gestures lately. Each one was just as meaningful as the last, whether it was quick and over or a longer period of time. What amazes me about kindness? Often, it takes no more time and effort to extend a quick little moment of kindness than it does to withhold it. We think we don’t have time or energy or resources to extend a moment of kindness; when in reality, doing something for someone else can actually give us energy. Crazy as this may sound, it’s the TRUTH!!

So today, grasp an opportunity laid before you to be kind. Don’t stop with just one instance of kindness. That would be too easy. Challenge yourself to find multiple opportunities to extend just a big of kindness to someone else. See how this affects your attitude, your demenor and your outlook. Maybe, just maybe, it will also put a spring into your step!

For recognition of God’s kindness to me being meaningful enough that I extend kindness to others, I am grateful.

Holy God – may we come to appreciate just how deep and significantly it is that you love us. Rooted deeply in kindness. May we be inspired by your kindness to us that we make extending kindness a regular part of our day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Celebrating a Rite of Passage

Gratitude Day 276

Tues., May 28, 2019

Proverbs 16:3– Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

It’s been a great few days.

High School Graduation. Celebrations. Cousins visiting. Playing cards. Meaningful conversations. Lots and lots of good food.

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Last Friday, my youngest nephew, Kevin, graduated from high school. Hubby Rick and I, as well as the rest of our family, celebrated with him over the weekend.

High school graduation is truly a rite of passage. One of those important life accomplishments. A line in the sand between youth and adulthood.

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Kevin graduated from the same high school that I did … a million years ago. I had not been to a graduation ceremony in this school gym in many years. It was a little surreal to sit in the bleachers and watch the Augusta High School class of 2019 graduate. It brought back memories:

  • High school friends that I still keep in touch with. And those I have less contact with.
  • Names of favorite teachers who taught and encouraged me.
  • As the band played “Pomp and Circumstance,” I recalled playing the exact same music.
  • The large fans positioned behind the stage where we sat. Breezes from the fans lifting the pages from the commencement address I would share off the chair where I would sit on which they had been carefully placed. Each of the speakers trying to locate the pages of our individual addresses after we were seated on the stage.
  • Walking to receive a diploma.

High school graduation is one of many rites of passage: baptism, confirmation, graduation, marriage. And then, there are the “unofficial” rites of passage as well: first kiss, mowing the lawn, driver’s license, opening your own bank account, purchasing a home, being present when someone dies, first flight on an airplane. All these rites of passage are significant, important and meaningful.

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Life is full of these moments as well as many every day, ordinary things as well. In the 50+ years of my life, I have pondered so many times:

“What does God want me to do?”

“How do I handle this situation?”

“What direction should my life take?”

“Am I following God’s will for my life?”

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Kevin will ask himself these, and countless similar questions, many times in his life. I continue to explore these questions and other deeply meaningful ones on a daily basis. As believers, this is what we should do: seek and desire God’s leading, guidance and influence in our lives. Every. Single. Day.

I have made mistakes. Kevin may someday look back at a choice and wished he had made a slightly different choice. This. Is. OK. Why? If we commit to God our desires and choices and wishes of our heart, someway, somehow God will honor these choices and the plan will be supported by God. Even when we make a decision or choice that might not be God’s first choice, God can help steer our lives in a slightly (or not so slightly) different direction and take what we’ve chosen and make something amazing and great happen.

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Yes, there will and is disappointment. Heartache. The desire for do-overs. In these moments, I have often discovered this is when I grow the most. Learn something new about myself. Discover that I have abilities beyond what I imagined. God can and will use all of this for something wonderful … if we only trust God enough to allow it to so be.

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No matter what stage of life you find yourself in these days, celebrate it. Throw yourself a little party for the latest accomplishment you felt good about. And go right back to God and ask God to continue paving the path before you.

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Congrats, Kevin, on all the many, many things you’ve accomplished. You will do great things. Just please, take God along in your journey.

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For observing another person journey through a significant rite of passage gracefully, I am grateful.

Lord God – We celebrate the people near and dear to our hearts who have accomplished a significant rite of passage. Inspire these people to be all that they can be. Encourage them to seek your heart as they make life decisions and choices. Thank you for consistently blessing the plans we make in consultation with you. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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