What I’ve Learned in the Last 60 Days

Gratitude Day 516

Mon., Sept. 28, 2020

1 Corinthians 12:27 – You are the body of the Anointed One, and each of you is a unique and vital part of it.

We’re into the last days of September. Summer is officially over … and it’s fall. I’ve been thinking about I’ve learned these last number of days and I’m reminded that taking time to reflect is SO. IMPORTANT.


Today, I’m sharing a few things that I have learned – or more appropriately – relearned in the last 60 days. Folks – these concepts ARE NOT complicated. I am constantly reminded that there is much that I’ve learned before … and just need to relearn again and again.

This is what 2020 looks like.

We’re four weeks into school in our area, which means that the last four weeks, we’ve packed weekend food bags for our local school district. When schooling went online in March and continued through the end May, we provided weekend food bags for students. We just completely reorganized how we did it to keep folks safe.

With more understanding of how we can be together and keep each other safe, we’ve welcomed back volunteers who feel comfortable packing bags. The first week back, all of the volunteers were SO EXCITED about having some place to go, something to do and could once again feel like they were contributing to our local community. IT WAS GREAT.

Local school districts continue to have significant needs. They need supplies to keep folks safe, just like everyone else. Add in families in your local community that have been hit financially by the pandemic, and we quickly see needs. There ARE ways you can help. A call to the school district’s social worker or student dean will help you find out what is needed. Do you have to make a huge financial donation to make a difference? NO. Believe me … every little bit help counts. Weather will be getting colder soon. Used coats for kids of all ages will be needed, along with hats, gloves, etc. Make your heart sing this week by doing a little something for your local school district.

Laughter is great medicine.

Did you laugh yourself through the Father of the Bride movies that came out over 20 years ago? Steve Martian stars as an over-zealous father whose daughter gets married. His on-screen wife, Diane Keaton, bails him out of jail after an incident at the grocery store about hot dogs and buns.

The writer of the earlier movies wrote a little movie during the pandemic. She recruited the original cast and they filmed a short new movie called Father of the Bride Part(3ish). Only 30 minutes long, this new version places the Banks family right in the pandemic, dealing with the stuff the rest of us are dealing with. Of course, the family gathers on a ZOOM call because, well, that’s what we do in 2020.

The movie is a breath of fresh air. Because it was filmed during the pandemic, each character filmed themselves in their own home. There were no professional camera people, make-up artists or such. The movie provides literally a real-life interpretation of how one family is making it through the pandemic.

Even more cool? The movie is FREE. It’s been released through Netflix. If, like us, you don’t have Netflix, you can go to Netflix’s YouTube page and watch it there for free. People are encouraged to donate to an organization providing meals to families with food insecurity in lieu of paying for the movie. Here’ the link. It’s family friendly, has a fun twist AND will make you laugh.

We all need a hobby. Seriously.

For years, Hubby Rick has said that I need a REAL hobby. One that I do on a regular basis. One that brings joy into my life.

Hubby Rick has lots of hobbies. He fishes and fishes and fishes. He has kayaked and kayaked and kayaked this summer. He rides bike, golfs and is so happy to be watching sports on TV again. When he wakes up in the morning, he goes outside and surveys the garden to decides what needs watering, what needs harvesting and removes any pesky weeds before they have a hot minute to live.

Naturally, his remodeling skills are the hobby that I desperately appreciate.

So, what are my hobbies? I bike and hike and walk. I am reading. I exercise and like to make our home feel cozy and warm. I have a variety of other things I do on and off; probably more off than on.

But in Rick’s opinion, not a REAL hobby.

Here’s something that I’m not sure qualifies as a hobby … but brings me joy. On Labor Day weekend, Hubby Rick and I wondered down to the local farmer’s market and bought a huge box of tomatoes. On Labor Day, I turned those tomatoes into salsa and spaghetti sauce and tomato juice.

Is it very cost efficient to spend a whole day canning tomatoes when I can probably buy a jar of spaghetti sauce for less than $3? Probably not. I’d like to think the homemade stuff tastes better with the love and care put into every jar.

What I do know is that for that whole day, I loved canning those tomatoes. I listened to books on tape and planned how I could most efficiently go through the planning process. (I know. Can’t my brain just ever rest?)

Yes, I’ve canned other things this summer. For some reason, canning those tomatoes was so cathartic for me. I pray you have an activity that you do every so often that feels the same for you.

Have Something You’ve Been Wanting to do for YEARS? JUST DO IT.

The day before our 20th wedding anniversary, Hubby Rick and I had no clue what we were going to do. In a very last-minute decision, we decided to cross a big one off of our bucket list and go sky diving.

I’ve shared about our adventure previously. I was not prepared for how many people commented back about how there was no way they could go sky diving. I’m not going to try and convince anyone that they should go sky diving … unless they want me to.

Here’s what I want to convince you of: DON’T put off doing that something you’ve always wanted to do. I know traveling in Italy isn’t possible right now. Or going to the South Pole. I’ll add a disclaimer to wait until the something is safe and possible right now, but “Just do it.”

We’re loving the things that completely make us think of summer … right into fall. And will do so until we can’t.

I’ve baked more peach pies this summer than I ever have. We’re finding fun places to hike and walk every weekend. Rick gets me in our kayaks about once a week. We’re drinking in every minute of sun and 60+ degrees weather that we can. We’ll be eating our meals on our porch until a serious coat is required.

Hubby Rick seriously thinks God should have made only one season: summer. Yet, we also love the leaves turning and pumpkins and going to the apple orchard. I hope you are as well.

I’m loving the volunteer gourds from our garden.

The last number of years, we’ve had a healthy crop of volunteer gourds in our garden. We’re never quite sure what each vine plant is when they begin growing, so we just let them go. This summer, the volunteer gourd plants took over a chunk of the garden.

We don’t plant the gourds. Every fall, I just throw this year’s gourds into the garden so they will compost. Every spring, some of those old gourds because the seed for this year’s harvest.

We have a wide variety of gourds this year. Hubby Rick is convinced at least some of the plants cross pollinated with the cucumbers because of their pretty stripes. I have them scattered around the house and the porches for fall décor.

Here’s the deal: every single gourd is different. Unique. Special. No two are alike.

Friends: if God can make each gourd unique, special and different, then God will also make each person different. Unique. Special with no two alike.

Sometimes, it’s easy to point out the parts of another person where things feel a little cross-pollinated. I’m sure plenty of people have done this about me, just as I have done about other people. Nonetheless, I celebrate how God created me just the way I am. Just the way you are. How we’re all unique, different and special.

It can be SO EASY for us to find ways that we’re more alike than the same in the next 60 days. I find myself doing this all too often. And I wonder why. And it makes my heart sad.

I saw this quote recently and I pray we will remember these wise words for the next couple of months:

I am way less concerned with who you vote for than I am with how you treat the people that vote differently than you do.

We may or may not know how each other votes. In the end, I pray that how we treat each other is far more important than an election. Can we agree to be uber kind to each other for the next period of time? Will we value the unique and special character of each other … even if sometimes it drives us a bit crazy? (Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this …)

We need folks who model and prioritize kindness as a high core value right now. I’m going to TRY and be one of those people … and pray you will as well. (P.S. – Yes, you have permission to call me out on this when I’m not following my own suggestion.)

Take two minutes. Look at your calendar. Or the most recent photos on your phone. What little lessons have you discovered or maybe relearned these last couple of months? What are those lessons saying to you today? Maybe, just maybe, it’s how God is speaking to you. Right here. Right now.

Blessings –


For lessons that I need relearning and rediscovering, I am grateful.

Holy God – Thanks for granting me the opportunity to look back over the past couple of months and find these lessons that help me grow in love of You and my neighbor. I deeply appreciate how You speak in and through them. Amen.

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Dear God: Don’t Give Up

Gratitude Day 515

Fri., Sept. 25, 2020

Ephesians 4:32 – But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.

Dear God –

Please – don’t give up on us. Humanity. Your children. All of us down here.

Don’t give up.

Too often, we just don’t treat each other very well. We want grace for ourselves and a strong hand of justice for everyone else. We love each other poorly all too often.

And so, don’t give up on us.

You encourage us to be kind and affectionate towards each other. Yet, we forget Your wise words.

Please, don’t give up on us.

We plea for You to “come down” and fix things. How can we forget that You never ever left “down here?”

May you keep faith in us … and not give up on us?

I know it’s truly a rhetorical question … You not giving up on us. How do I know this?

Because You never have.


Thanks be to Jesus.

Thank you for never giving up on us. I pray that we don’t give up on You.

Help me remember You’re God and that’s good enough for me.

Blessings from Your Child –


For confidence in a God that doesn’t give up on us, I am grateful.

Father – Forgive us for we don’t always know what we are doing. We draw lines that divide us rather than knowing that You love each of us as a special child of Your family. Thank you for not ever giving up on us. Amen.

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Wednesday Prayer Day: What I Can’t Control

Gratitude Day 514

Wed., Sept. 23, 2020

Luke 12:22a: Jesus taught his disciples, saying, “Listen to me. Never let anxiety enter your hearts. Never worry about any of your needs,”

There are only so many things in this life that I can control.

Most often, it’s just the things within my tiny little realm of control: what I eat, wear, say and believe.

Most of the time, I can control what I do. Other times, I feel I don’t have an option.

Oh, and I control how I react. When something good happens. When something makes me sad. When someone says something to me. When life throws me a curve ball and I just want to scream, “God are You down here? If so, could you please be a little more obvious?”

And then, there are a whole bunch of things I cannot control. As much as I would love to take over and wrestle control away from someone else, it’s simply not up to me.

I can’t decide something for Hubby Rick. I can highly suggest … but that’s it. I can’t tell someone else what to do and expect them to do what I think is best.

I can’t make someone else’s choices. I can’t fix someone’s addiction. I can’t repair a challenged marriage. I can’t mend a severed relationship.

Nope, I can’t do any of these things.

What can I do?

Pray. Ask God to intervene. And pray some more.

And control what I can control: keep faith in God, humanity and myself. Discern when to speak and when to listen. Make sure my words are as encouraging as they can be. Slow down and experience life rather than charge through it. Life as Jesus taught me to live.

That’s about it.

Oh, and give the rest to God.

For a reminder to focus only on what I can control, I am grateful.

Almighty God – So often, we want to control things that aren’t ours to control. We want to take control of a situation because we’re convinced that we know best … when we may not. Rather than putting so much energy into things I can’t control, encourage me to focus on what I can control. Amen.

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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.


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.


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.

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Making a Difference in Poynette, Population 2503

Gratitude Day 512

Fri., Sept. 18, 2020

Acts 20:35: I’ve left you an example of how you should serve and take care of those who are weak. For we must always cherish the words of our Lord Jesus, who taught, ‘Giving brings a far greater blessing than receiving.’”

For the last five years, Hubby Rick and I have lived in Poynette, WI, population 2503.

There are a lot of great people in our little village. People we’ve come to know. People we call friends and neighbors. Folks we love and who in turn, love us.

Earlier this year, the Poynette Village Board created a Volunteer of the Year Award for an area person who gives of themselves within our community. At their board meeting this past week, they handed out the inaugural award to Mel and Ruth Ann Waugh.

I don’t know the process by which the Waugh’s were selected. What I do know is there is not another couple within this community who are more deserving.

For over ten years, the Waugh’s have headed up the local food pantry. Completly support by the local community, our little food pantry receives no financial backing from outside of the donation’s area folks, businesses and companies give, along with some grants. Each month, it serves between 55-75 area families; many who depend upon it greatly.

A ton of folks partner in making the food pantry an integral part of the community. But it’s the Waugh’s who are the hub of the wheel from which all spokes spread out. When locally grown potatoes are ready to be donated, it’s the Waugh’s that receive the phone call. When excess sweet corn or carrots or onions or tomatoes or other vegetables need a home, the Waugh’s are contacted. When the Scouts, the post office, area churches and the Poynette National Honor Society collect food for the pantry, the Waugh’s arrange drop off. If someone needs community serve hours, the Waugh’s may coordinate for this to happen at the food pantry.  

For several winters, the Waugh’s have spent several well-deserved weeks of sabbath in Alabama. When it came time to organize who would do what while they are gone, a team of people filled the various roles the Waugh’s have assumed. Since the Waugh’s recognize the value of allowing other people to serve within the community, these teams now fulfill some of the roles that the Waugh’s previously assumed.

With health and safety in mind, the decision was made to limit the number of people volunteering at the pantry during the pandemic. The Waugh’s have provided much of the people power during these last six months.

If the school district needs additional snacks for a classroom, the Waugh’s make it happen. If snow boots or jackets or extra gloves are needed, the first line of contact is often the Waugh’s.

Serving their community is not an afterthought for the Waugh’s. It’s their first thought. Just yesterday, they helped pack the weekend Blessings food bags for school-aged kids. When we looked into starting the Blessings program, it was Ruth Ann who said the food pantry would donate the necessary $5,000 to get it rolling.  

For about 10 years, the Waugh’s coordinated the assembly and delivery of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to folks within our community who might not otherwise have a holiday meal. For years, Mel and Ruth Ann organized and had these meals delivered before they gathered with their own family.

My first contact with the Waugh’s began when I started serving a church in the Poynette community. It didn’t take long for me to discover if there was something I needed, I could call the Waugh’s and they would do what they could. Countless times, the Waugh’s hosted kids at their farm for a fall hayride, bon fire and fun night of Wednesday Night Church School. When something at the church needed repair and Rick wasn’t available, Mel would be down shortly after I called him to check it out.

It takes a village to raise kids in a community. It takes a village to serve and help those who are going through a hard time. It takes a group of people who have a servant’s heart and a willingness to ask, “What can I do?” and then go ahead and do it.

This is what Mel and Ruth Ann have done in our little community. They have donated their time, energy, gifts and leadership in so many ways. When it came time for someone to receive the first Poynette Volunteer of the Year Award, I hope there was even a second option of who should receive it.

It’s people like the Waugh’s that inspire me … and hopefully you … to see where and how you can make a difference in your community. Too often, we expect someone else to do it. Folks like the Waugh’s accept the responsibility to do what they can to make a difference in people’s lives, one person at a time. And they do it.

Thank you, Mel and Ruth Ann, for all that you have done for our little community of Poynette, population 2503. You’ve made a huge impact on many of those people’s lives. You make a different in our village.

Here’s another little story that shows how one person is making a difference in his village. I think you’ll enjoy watching it.

For wonderful examples and witnesses of local servant leadership and hearts, I am grateful.

Almighty God – when Jesus said, “Help the poor,” he meant it. And when he said, “Feed the hungry,” it was not a suggestion but a mandate. Thank you for folks like Mel and Ruth Ann Waugh who heed these words and put them into action. Amen.

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A Letter to Hotmail

Gratitude Day 511

Fri., Sept. 18, 2020

2 Corinthians 11:16-20 – Let me come back to where I started—and don’t hold it against me if I continue to sound a little foolish. Or if you’d rather, just accept that I am a fool and let me rant on a little. I didn’t learn this kind of talk from Christ. Oh, no, it’s a bad habit I picked up from the three-ring preachers that are so popular these days. Since you sit there in the judgment seat observing all these shenanigans, you can afford to humor an occasional fool who happens along.

Dear Hotmail:

I’ve been a VERY loyal Hotmail e-mail customer for YEARS. DECADES, really. For way too long, I’ve hung onto my original e-mail address because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of letting every Tom, Dick and Harriet that I know about a new e-mail address. (Maybe, just maybe, I’ve wanted to keep the one last piece of evidence of my maiden name. If I was truly being honest, yes, this is the real reason for not giving up on my Hotmail address. But I digress.)

One day, I needed a g-mail address to activate a new Android phone. Highly disappointed that I couldn’t use my Hotmail account, I quickly made one up on the spot. I told no one about this e-mail address because I felt connected to that Hotmail address. Yes, the g-mail account is active. I only give it to companies that I don’t want to hear from. Basically, it’s a junk e-mail box.

Which leads me to the point of this letter. Over time, the amount of junk e-mail I received in my Hotmail account slowly went up and up. A few spam e-mails here. A few spam e-mails there. And then, wa-bam! I began receiving 100+ junk e-mails a day.

I would be happy if I never received another e-mail trying to sell me the newest Keto diet or CDB gummies or CDB oil again. I have never signed up for Netflix and therefore, haven’t had an issue signing into my account. Please stop sending me hundreds of e-mails that say I have. I’m not a great survey taker. Kindly let the folks over at CVS, Wal-Mart, Lowes and any other big box store that want to give me a $50 gift card for completing a survey that they can keep it for someone else.

I don’t have diabetes. My husband’s and I’s hormone levels are doing just fine. Our home doesn’t need a home warranty, nor do I have any interest in Bitcoin. For that matter, gambling is not my thing. Just stop sending me any e-mail related to gambling or betting.

If my teeth need fixing, I’ll happily go to my current dentist. My mattress is fine, and I don’t have any pets. I definitely know that I’m not the best candidate for a tarot card reading.

So, please, please, please … block all of these e-mails from arriving in my inbox day after day after day? Please?

Yes, an amazing thing happened about mid-March. When the pandemic began and everything was mostly shut down and we were all staying at home, I discovered one small silver lining. My junk mailbox was EMPTY! Literally, one day I was getting over 100. The next day, none. Zero. Nada.

I long for those days again. It was so fun to click on the “Junk” folder and find it empty! Or only with e-mails only from someone that I hadn’t added to my contact list.

Those days were beautiful. But short-lived. The 100+ days are back. My eyes glaze over, trying to find that one or two e-mails that I really need to read.  

Why can’t these e-mails just be stopped? My work Outlook address rarely lets a rogue e-mail in. But Hotmail? There is simply no filter, discouragement or stopping of all those e-mails cluttering up my life.  

I’ve tried blocking these e-mails, reporting them, labeling filters that would stop them in their tracks. Yet, Big Brother continues to let them in.

What I would like to know is where the e-mails that I really AM looking for are going. Every week, I discover at least one person who sent me an e-mail … that I never received. Someone I actually know! Who I have previously corresponded with! How do the extended warranty e-mails get through while the person I actually know gets filtered out??!!

And so, dear Hotmail, it’s time for us to say good-bye. To end our long-standing relationship. I’m so sad to not have dideaton@hotmail.com as my default e-mail address. Sometimes, all good things must come to an end. I guess we’re there.

Blessings –

Dianne D. Vielhuber

P.S. – If you want to respond to this letter, you and everyone else can now contact me at diannevielhuber@gmail.com. I’ll still be checking my Hotmail account for now but am committed to a long-term relationship with g-mail.  

For the opportunity to add a little humor to life when it feels so frustrating, I am grateful.

Dear God – I have no intention of cluttering up your desk with something as silly as junk e-mail. Please keep focused on the really big stuff, like hurricanes, wildfires, pandemics and the like. Yet, thank you for the gift of humor. It does help at times. Keep reminding me of this, which, is truly more important than irritating junk e-mails. Amen.

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Lessons from COVID-19: When Focus Is a Challenge

Gratitude Day 510

Wed., Sept. 16, 2020

2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Can I be real? Honest? Tell the truth?

I’ve been struggling lately. It’s not my health. Or Hubby Rick. I look at my life and think, “Wow! YOU. ARE. SO. LUCKY.”

So, what’s the problem?

Lack of focus. Procrastination. Letting things slide that I know are important.

This recovering Martha is just not feeling it these days.

Yes, I do get things done. I’ve taken moments and time to relish good things. Some days, there list is long. I accomplish much.

Other days? Not so much.

I think that we hit certain times in our lives when things just “flow” better than others. Some days, we hit on all cylinders. Others? We can’t get our act together.

Right now, I think it’s even more challenging. Most people are more than ready for something that feels and seems more “normal” in life to be part of our daily ritual. Yes, there are some things: baseball. NFL. School, although this probably feels anything but normal.

But I’m not sure there will be a day when suddenly, everything IS normal. Maybe, just maybe, this is OK. There are important lessons for us to take away from this time. I keep trying to sort out what those lessons are for myself.

What makes this time of history a bit different are the layers of challenges we’ve been living through. Pandemic + economic changes + division + racism + our feelings and emotions = a whole pot of mess.

I know that I’ve addressed this situation previously in the last six months. I bring it back up again now because, well, we’re still living in it. And maybe, we just need to keep extending ourselves and each other some grace. Understanding. Patience. Love.

If you, or someone you know, is feeling some of these same things, what are we to do? Here’s a few things I’ve been keeping in my life to help keep me centered.

I’m moving my body. I’m making sure that I exercise at least five times/week. If only for 20 minutes. The hardest part is tying the laces on my shoes. Once this is done, I’m committed to doing something: walking, biking, an exercise video. If your body isn’t up for much movement, walk for 10 minutes.

I’m taking time to do something that fills me: I’m reading. I use the word “reading” here a little loosely. I consider listening to books as “reading” a book as well. I’m reading a variety of things right now. I usually have a couple different books going. Some are lighter or a novel. Others relate to something that is dear to my heart. Rediscover something that fills your soul and do it for 10-20 minutes a day. Again, the length of time isn’t nearly as important as doing SOMETHING. Just for you. (P.S. – vegging out in front of the TV or on your computer doesn’t count. Make it something that truly brings life to your brain.)

I’m noting gratitude daily. This continues to be a mainstay for me. Every morning, I write down in a journal three things that I’m grateful for. For me, writing them down is important because I can go back and see all the wonderful things that I have to be grateful for. These aren’t big things but little things that happened in the last 24 hours that brought joy and happiness to my life. It literally takes two minutes.

I’m extending myself grace. Yes, things are taking longer. I’m not nearly as organized as this Martha usually is. And I’m trying to be OK with this. There are days I put off doing something and make time to do another task that fills my heart. Right now, we need these heart-fillers more than we need to be taskmasters. Seriously. Give yourself grace.

What are YOU doing these days to fill your heart? Soul? Allow space for you to live and feel all that’s going on these days? Folks – extend yourself, those you love and others around you a bit more grace these days. There will come a time when we’ll look back and be glad that we were more empathetic, caring and grace-filled if we do.

It’s Wednesday Night … which means that it is Devos with Dianne tonight on Facebook Live at 8 PM CT. Recently, I asked folks to share what they are missing during this time of pandemic. I received back lots of really great answers! I’ll be sharing them tonight on Devos with Dianne. It’s one you’ll want to tune into!

For being able to focus on grace these days, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – Thank you for being so much more grace-filled with us than we are with ourselves. Thank you for being with us in this unsettling time. Help us be more grace-filled with ourselves and others. Amen.

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

A Smile for Saturday – COVID-19 Style

Gratitude Day 509

Sat., Sept. 12, 2020

Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

As we approach the six-month mark of living in a COVID-19 influenced society, it’s becoming clear to me that many are growing weary of this pandemic. While we’d love for things to return to “normal,” I’m not sure this is happening any time soon. We’re still navigating the precarious world of balancing health and safety with doing the things that we want to be able to do. It’s a fine line, a fine tightrope that we’re often walking. It’s clear to me that we’re not all in agreement of how this should look and work, which only adds to the defeatism that so many feel.

That’s why it is so important that some folks are creative enough to help us continue to smile, laugh and bring joy and happiness into our lives.

Enter schoolteacher Paul Miller.

Paul is a teacher at Appleton East High School in Appleton, WI. He created a parody on the “Friends” theme to welcome back his students to school this fall. He spent a day writing and recording the video with the help of his wife.

The response? A-MAZ-ING.

I don’t know Paul. I ran across his little video purely by coincidence. To say that his video has created lots of laughs, follow-up media contacts and a great example of how to make lemonade out of lemons.

As per tradition, Paul begins the school year with a song. This year, he took his normal challenge a step further. He rewrote the words to fit into our current COVID-19 situation.

Paul told a local TV station, “Learning is about being uncomfortable and challenging your skills and pushing your ideas, so I try to get a little uncomfortable in front of the students on the first day.”

What is Paul’s main message in his back-to-school video? He’ll be with the kids, no matter what. Whether they are in their pj’s while attending class and not able to see each other in person, he will be with them. For them. Helping them learn.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. I’m with you.

Pretty good words, right? Teach Paul Miller has the right message we all need to hear right now. While I don’t know Paul, I’m confident he’s taking these words to heart and plans to live them out EVERY. SINGLE. SCHOOL. DAY.

Back to our current situation. Yep, it’s easy to feel discouraged right now. Many of us ARE afraid of a whole bunch of things.

But someone else is with you. Us. Will not leave us. Ever.


God. Look at the first at the top of this post. Read it again. Insert your name at the beginning of the verse. Remind yourself again and again and again. God will be with you. Through this pandemic. On the rotten, awful days. On the days that don’t make sense. On the days you just want something to be normal.

Who will be there?


Now, just don’t give up on God. Let God be your ever-present, ever-consistent friend that is there for you.

Because God already is.

Thanks, Paul Miller, for being there for your students. So are a million other teachers right now.

And for everyone out there, God is there for you. Amen.

For God’s presence with us always and always, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – Too often, we look for someone, somewhere to be present with us. We forget that You are always here with us. We turn every place but to You looking for comfort and peace when Your presence has been there right along. Thank you for always being present. When we are discouraged, may we turn to You. When we are afraid, may we come first to You. Amen.

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