Gratitude Day 212 – Refresh Wednesday

Wed., Feb. 6, 2019

Proverbs 7:6 – When from the window of my house, from behind the screen, I gazed down

Today’s Refresh Wednesday isn’t a recent project. It’s one I’ve had for quite a while. But it’s a fun one … one I hope you’ll enjoy.

Interested in knowing more?

Great. I’d love to share.

When Hubby Rick was about 5, he and his family moved into an old house. Originally, the house was built in 1850 by a General Starks who was part of the Union Army during the Civil War. He moved to Wisconsin from out east. When he came upon the small village of Ableman, WI (now known as Rock Springs, WI), he bought land because the countryside reminded him of the area where he lived out east. The year after the house was built, a barn was built.

While the house was an elaborate house in its original day, by the time Rick’s family moved to this house, it had fallen into disrepair. In fact, Rick’s maternal grandfather felt his daughter and son-in-law had made a poor decision in purchasing this house and farm. Over the next few decades, Rick’s family upgraded the house and made significant improvements.

At some point, new windows were installed. For years, the old windows were kept. A number of years ago, Rick brought home a couple of these old windows. I’ve used a few of them for decorating purposes in our houses. I’ve enjoyed using something historical from the house where Rick grew-up. And it doesn’t hurt that I LOVE me some good, old antique items.

DSC06698

When I started this project, this particular window no longer had glass in the panes, which was what I wanted. To prepare the window, I twisted a few eye hooks into the sides of the panes. Then, I used some thin but sturdy wire and hung it between the eye hooks. The wires became “clothes lines” of sorts, on which I can hang various items. Some window panes have two clothes lines; some have one.

This design allows me to change the decorations seasonally. For fall, I used items I had at home: cut-outs of leaves and such. For Christmas, I use repurposed Christmas cards. I keep an envelope with the fronts of some of my favorite cards and hang them during the holiday season. I’m behind on getting some hearts and Valentine’s hung up for February. (I kept thinking I’d get home hung and picture snapped. It didn’t happen.)

At Easter, I’ve hung cut-out Easter eggs. In the summer, I’ve hung pictures of flowers from our gardens that I’ve taken and printed. To hang items, I use small clothes pins from a craft store. I keep a supply of them on hand.

DSC06970

Windows have an interesting role in the Bible. Noah made sure there where windows in the Ark. Windows were used to lower people out of a location. Sometimes, particular items were hung from a window to identify the house. Once, a man was listening to Paul speak, who, apparently was long winded. After the man fell asleep, he fell out of a window!

I like to think of windows in another way. Windows allow us to look INTO a building or house. They also provide an opportunity for us to look OUT. Both ways, the window provides the vantage point of what we are able to see. A big window? Why, we can see a lot! Just a little window, it’s harder to see in and out.

Each of us chooses how much we allow others to glimpses into the “window” of our lives. We choose how much, or how little, another person can see. When someone takes a glimpse into your life, what do they see? Are they able to quickly determine what your priorities are? Through your actions and choices, is it clear what truly is most important to you? Or does the glimpse into your world portray a life lived differently from what your main priorities are?

While initially this window came about as a fun way to decorate for various seasons of the year, its true message is far more important and reaching. I pray this window is a reminder to let others look into my life and see God as an important part of my daily life. When I look out of the window of my daily activities, I pray they reflect what is most important to me and are easy for others to determine. When people gaze down into the window of my life, I pray Jesus is clearly there, for all to see.

For windows into our lives, I am grateful.

Holy God – may we see the windows of our lives as an opportunity to share glimpse of what is important to us. I pray we align our life priorities with what others see when they gaze into our lives and world.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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

Gratitude Day 206 – Refresh Wednesday #3

Wed., Jan. 30, 2019

Psalm 63:6 – whenever I ponder you on my bed, whenever I meditate on you in the middle of the night—

Welcome to Refresh Wednesday!

Today, I’m excited to share with you a project that is one of my FAVORITE refreshes we have completed in our house. It’s a great example of taking something old we had at our house, refreshing it and repurposing it for another use.

Would you like to know more?

Good, I can’t wait to share!!

Last fall, we created a beautiful master suite on the second floor of our 1906 Victorian Farmhouse. I’m anxiously awaiting to show you the entire room but have held off because we’re waiting for our floor guy to refinish the hardwood floors. He’s experienced some challenges in his personal life, which are far more important than our floors, so we wait.

When my sister and her husband bought a new king-sized bed, they gave us their old one. We started with just the frame, box spring and mattress. As we put the suite together, I really felt the bed really needed a headboard.

20190129_16532620190118_141109

Here’s what the head of the bed looks like. Nothing too fancy, right?

20190118_140850

Until you remove the pillows and see this.

I began looking for a headboard online. Notice the window above the bed? I love the light the window lets into the room, but it affects the height of the headboard. While I found something that would have worked, I wasn’t thrilled with it.

20190129_163707

 

This is when I came up with a much better idea that didn’t cost us anything. Well, except the paint, which we already had.

20181013_174134

We have some old doors from the house that we no longer are using. Some of these doors are very narrow, like less than 30” wide narrow. Upon my request, Rick dug one of these doors out. We measured the length of the door and discovered it was just a little long for the king-sized bedframe. It would work great as a headboard!

20181013_174120

Rick cut the door to fit the bedframe. Then, he made posts for each end to attach the headboard to the frame. He found a piece of leftover trim in the attic, which he fashioned as a cap for the top of the bedframe. After sanding the door, we put on a coat of primer. Once dry, we painted the door a dark charcoal grey. The bedroom walls are a medium grey. The dark grey headboard looks stunning against the lighter walls.  (Look carefully … you see the floors we’re waiting to refinish.)

When we show people the headboard, most do not realize that it used to be a door. Rick did such a great job; the headboard looks like it was made this way!

20190129_163213

My favorite part of the project? We took something that was original to the house, refurbished it and made it into something that fits into the design and décor of our house.

When I wake up in the morning, I spend a few minutes in prayer before me feet hit the ground. I dedicate my day to God. I ask for God to direct and guide me through the day. I ask for wisdom in making decisions and noticing the things God desires for me to note. As I meditate in bed, I pray that I can suppress my will and seek God’s will for me for the upcoming day.

I’m anxious to continue this morning ritual in our master suite, once the floors are completed. In the meantime, several overnight guests have utilized this bed and master suite. I’ve loved being able to share this refurbished headboard with them. In fact, my sister was so taken by the beauty and function of the door-turned-into-headboard, she had Rick make her one, using an extra door that she had! We’re letting her choose what color she wants to paint it once we get it back to her house. It’s another example of using something you already have and refurbishing it into another life.

20190129_163411

For refurbished furniture that adds beauty to our home, I am grateful.

Holy God – beauty comes in many different ways. Sometimes, we just need to look at something from a little different perspective to see the purpose and beauty in a new way. On this day, maybe it’s something in our personal lives that needs some tweaking and imagination. May we not be afraid of potential refurbishing’s that come into our lives, realizing the finished product can be truly amazing. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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

Gratitude Day 205 – Christmas Cactus

Tues., Jan. 29, 2019

Isaiah 40:8 – The grass dries up; the flower withers, but our God’s word will exist forever.

I love having plants and flowers inside the house. For me, they are like a little breath of fresh air; a bit of color that brightens a room and brings a smile to your face.

20190128_221711

In early November, this Christmas cactus bloomed. Last winter, it bloomed very close to Thanksgiving. It hasn’t quite figured out when it’s the Christmas season and blooms whenever it wants!

Imagine my surprise when about 10 days ago, IT BLOOMED AGAIN!!

How did this happen?

20190128_221839

Some friends were visiting just as the blossoms were bursting into their deep magenta color. One asked how I teased the Christmas cactus into blooming again. My answer was quite scientific: “I just let it be.”

The right answer has something about less daylight and more darkness and less water. Yes, I think I put it someplace where it would get less light. Often, I only water plants so the plants don’t get overwatered. Honestly, I didn’t plan for these things to happen so the cactus would bloom again. It did it all on its own; much to my joy and surprise.

This second blooming was maybe a bit more meaningful because the cactus bloomed right about the one-year anniversary of my Mom’s death. And this plant used to be her cactus.

20190128_221854

As much as I love plants and flowers in the house, I don’t fuss over them. I don’t spend hours and hours making sure they are getting the right amount of sunshine. I try to put fertilizer in the water every other week. Sometimes I remember. Sometimes I forget.

For as little attention as they receive, sometimes the plants look great. Other times, they really could use a little mothering. Unfortunately, they are on their own too much of the time.

Yet, I do enjoy having a few real plants in the house, especially in the winter. When there is less light in general and no pretty flowers to cut outside and bring inside, my heart yearns for something, anything, that is living and breathing. Why? Because they give me hope.

Hope for spring.

Hope for warmer weather.

Hope that just as a plant cycles through its life cycle, so do I.

Sometimes I’m blooming.

Other times, my flowers have withered.

All the time, I need sun and water and a fertilizer to keep my soul nurtured.

Even if my flowers have withered, God’s presence in my life is consistent and never-ending. It’s not God who wanders away from me; it’s me who has wandered away from God.

Soon, these flowers will wither, and I’ll pluck them off the plant. When will it bloom again? I’m not sure. Will I be more attentive to doing the “right” things so it will bloom? Maybe … or maybe not. Either way, God is with me. God loves my heart and soul, even when it’s a little dry and needs some fertilizer. God never gives up on me, even if I doubt or am angry or disappointed. And I have the hope that even if I’m not as attentive to God as I should be, God keeps hoping for the spring day in my life when I come wandering back to God. Looking for a little fertilizer. Searching for a good drink of water. Ready to deepen my relationship with God once again.

20190128_221724

For a God who loves me even when wither, I am grateful.

Almighty God – thank you for the beautiful flowers on this Christmas cactus not just once this winter, but twice. Thank you for the little lessons even this small plant can instill in my life. Thank you for loving me when I bloom and when I withered.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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

Gratitude Day 203 – Urgent vs. Important

Sat., Jan. 26, 2019

Psalm 86:6 – Listen closely to my prayer, O God. Hear my urgent cry.

important-date-reminder-clipart-1

One of my 2019 goals has been to focus more on the really “important” things in my life versus the “urgent.”

There’s a difference? Glad you asked.

The “important” things: these are the “big” things that bring you joy, happiness and inspiration. The things that you want others to know as your signature items. The values and work (paid or unpaid) that you feel is where you make a difference in people’s lives.

urgent

The “urgent” things: the things that you feel “must” be done. They often are the more mundane items that are important (i.e. – paying bills so the electricity or phone doesn’t get turned off) but not all the sexy. They often mask themselves as being seemingly quick and easy tasks that can turn into items that suck your time, energy and attention.

 

I’ll list what I think are some “important” things in my life and what are the seemingly “urgent” items.

Important: writing for this blog as well as the book that I’m working on; much of the volunteer work I do as ministry work as well as things I do for the local school and community; my part-time marking job; daily devotions; taking care of my temple through proper eating and exercise, investing in important relationships.

Urgent: managing our finances; laundry; shopping; making and keeping necessary appointments; keeping up with the house; meals and food; some volunteer responsibilities that I’d like to reduce in my life.

Of course, there is a whole bunch of stuff that falls in-between. Sometimes, these things are important, i.e. – planning a vacation. It’s important to have time away to spend with loved ones and recharge your soul. This can be urgent when you need to get things booked, plans made, etc.

What falls in-between will vary from person to person. One person’s hobby can be important, whereas a similar item for another will be a nagging urgent. Reading for spiritual growth is important to me. Reading e-mail and other things often feels very, very urgent.

What about social media? This can very different for various people.

urgent-stamp

Too often, I let the “urgent” run my schedule. I look at my to-do list and think, “I just want to get some of these quick items crossed off my list. Then, I’ll work on some of the bigger, more important items.” The problem? “Urgent” items always take longer than I anticipate. Beginning an urgent item often leads to a whole bunch of other urgent items. Before you know it, time goes towards the “urgent” and the “important” get shoved to the back for another day, week, month or year.

Anyone else feel my pain? And so, the struggle continues.

This week, I was determined to spend more time with the “important” than the “urgent.” My to-do list had plenty of “urgent” things. All week, I might get a couple done. Most kept getting rolled over into tomorrow’s to-do list. Friday morning, I realized some urgent things needed to be tackled or dropped off the list.

Time management gurus often say some of our “urgent” things should be thrown into the wastebasket.

Anyone else feel the pain of trying to let these things go? And so, the struggle continues.

I spent most of Friday working through the “urgent” list, ignoring the “important” things I desperately want to put my time into.

And so, the struggle continues.

I have rocked some “important” areas so far this year. I love the new way I’m doing daily devotions and loving it. I’m exercising for at least 20 minutes a day. I am blogging regularly and writing some. But so many other “important” things never see the light of day.

And so, the struggle continues.

If you struggle with this, I’d love to hear your insights. How you try to manage this? What is your best tip to not let your life get consumed with the urgent?

And so, the struggle continues.

So often, this same struggle is often found in our prayer lives. How often do we pray for the really “important” things? How much of your prayer life is consumed with the “urgent” requests? Just another example how the “urgent” often takes over.

Having answers for these types of challenges can be hard. What we should not do is stop seeking or trying to find ways that resonate with us and our lives.

2

For help in determining what the “important” things in our lives versus the “urgent”, I am grateful.

Lord God – thanks for being patient with me when I struggle to do the really important things. I appreciate your graciousness in allowing us to make these daily choices. May I find ways to focus on the “important” versus the “urgent” in my daily life. Amen.

 

Blessings –

Dianne

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

Gratitude Day 201 – Refresh Wednesday #2

Wed., Jan. 23, 2019

1 Corinthians 6:19 – Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves?

Last Wednesday, I began “Refresh Wednesdays.” Each Wednesday, I plan to post some easy, quick little thing I’ve done lately that brings joy to my life.

In the first “Refresh Wednesday,” I shared how I updated our beautiful front porch from Christmas decorations to a winter wonderland-inspired décor that will be appropriate until our Wisconsin winter disappears.

Today, I’m going to share one of my new mantras for 2019. It’s really very simple:

20 minutes in blue

20-minutes.

I prioritize things that are important for me to do each day for just 20-minutes. Nothing more. Just 20-minutes.

Here’s an example: exercise. For years, I ran multiple days a week, lifted weights a couple times a week and rode bike when weather allowed a couple days a week. Since we moved to our current house three years ago, exercise has been such a struggle for me. I don’t have my favorite running trails anymore. As we focused on remodeling our house the last few years, I felt like I didn’t have time and/or energy to exercise. All too quickly and easily, exercise fell by the wayside.

At my annual physical two years ago, my doctor encouraged me to lose 10-15% of my body weight. (One person told me that I should find a new doctor!) Ugh. It’s so challenging. When I went for my physical last fall, I was down a few pounds; just not as much as I would have liked.

I know exercise is important. I should exercise, as both of my parents struggled with health issues at the end of their lives. My pants would fit better if I lost those pounds my doctor encourages me to lose. And yes, I would be able to wear those things in my closet that don’t really fit but I’ve hung onto, anticipating SOME DAY I will be able to wear them again.

I’ve put together exercise schedules, willed myself to get make exercise a priority … all with little success. Through the process, I keep reminding myself of the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I knew that I needed to change my approach if I wanted different results.

Here’s my new approach in 2019: 20-minutes of exercise a day. This is all I expect of myself. A 20-minute walk or run. A 20-minute DVD. A 20-minute online video. Or 20-minutes of exercises that I choose to do myself. Just 20-minutes a day. I should be able to find this short window time, right?

So far, I have been. Some days when it works, I might do two 20-minute exercise blocks. I’ll go for 20-minute walk and do a workout video later. I don’t expect myself to do this every day; my first priority is always that first 20-minute block.

20 minutes 2

With this mentality, I no longer talk myself out of doing some form of exercise. I KNOW 20-minutes can be found. It just needs to be a priority.

Honestly, exercising is not about fitting into clothes better or anticipating someone will finally notice that I’m down a couple pounds. The real reason why exercise is so important? It’s how I want to care for my body. I view my body as a temple. Just as we want to carefully care for the temples, the places where we worship God, we should also care for our bodies as a temple for God. Neglecting to care for my body says to God that I don’t value how God created my body, my temple. Exercise is one way that I can express appreciation for the finely-tuned body God has provided me.

As I get a little older, I also must be realistic about what I expect and how I care for my body. I’m convinced that 20-minutes a day is really more helpful for my body than one day of overdoing exercise. Not only is it good for my physical body, it also gives me a mental break.

What is something you’ve been wanting to change in your life? Something you’ve been trying to change … but keep reverting back to the old way of doing things, yet expecting different results? What is one thing you can do today for 20-minutes that will bring joy to your life as well as provide self-care for your temple?

20-minutes

Just find 20-minutes and do it.

Now, if I could only fix my eating habits as easily …

For refreshing my physical body, 20-minutes at a time, I am grateful. 

Holy God – thank you for the wonderful temple that you have provided me with my body. Forgive me for the times I have not appreciated my body nor cared for it well. May I discover easy and important ways to care for my body. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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

Gratitude Day 202 – Working Together

Thurs., Jan. 24, 2019

2 Corinthians 6:1 – Since we work together with him, we are also begging you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

And then, there was winter.

After scooting by the beginning of winter with very little snow and very mild temps, well, winter has arrived.

In the last 24+ hours, we’ve had 8-10 inches of snow. And we had several inches last weekend. I know, it’s not like living in Buffalo, NY … but it’s snow.

snow plows

We live north of Madison, WI. Today, I saw this cool picture. Count all of those snow plows, working together. They are on a main commuting route in Madison called The Beltline. How cool is this?

I know. Some people were complaining that not enough snow was moved before the morning commute. Or there wasn’t enough snow or salt. Or the side streets weren’t cleared. Let me just say … it’s impossible to get all the snow moved at the same time so that everyone can get just where they want as quickly as they would like. The roads department can’t do it all right now.

What this picture shows me is something super cool: teamwork. A bunch of folks working together, for the benefit of others. A little reminder that sometimes, we need to remember the bigger picture. We aren’t the center of God’s universe. When we figure this out, well, it really is a happier place for us.

Can we just stop wanting more for ourselves and decide that the best way to feel good about ourselves is to help someone else?

Can we set aside our personal preference for the benefit of a larger group?

Can we encourage others to do their best and in turn, then be encouraged to do our best?

When we see ourselves as Christians, then we are part of a larger community. Christians aren’t a community of one. They are a part of a huge family that includes people that are very different from you. In fact, there maybe some you don’t even really like. They are going to look different than you do, care for things that aren’t as important to you and irritate you some day. And just as you are a beloved child of God, SO ARE THEY.

I think we Christians can do some really amazing things here for God’s kingdom on earth. If we’d only work together and decide what we hold in common is really more important than where we differ.

So, let’s give each other an extra dose of grace today. Let’s find some folks who are excited to work together. Go make a difference in someone’s life, a community or the world. We can plow through a lot of barriers when we work together.

For a wonderful example of working together, I am grateful.

Lord God – thank you for giving us wonderful examples of working together, with the best example of all found in the Trinity of God. Help us to focus on the things we agree on more than the areas where we disagree. May we unite and work together for the glory and honor of your kingdom. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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

Gratitude Day 200 – A Little Inspiration!

Tues. 22, 2019

2 Timothy 3:16 – Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character,

20190121_093710

Take a close look at the picture. I know … it’s not that interesting. But let me point out something important. Do you see on the stuff BELOW the shelf on my desk? The boxes with scissors and pens, paperclips and notepads, sticky notes and then the bigger box? The box with my version of a rolodex, camera and a couple DVD’s that I need to return? Yes, some of us still do keep paper files of contact information. (For those too old to know what a rolodex is, this is where people used to store all of their contact information. Before we had phones glued to our hips and hands.)

OK, all that stuff. It used to be on TOP of the shelf. And had been for the 3+ years I’ve had my desk in the current office space I use.

Well, a couple weeks ago, I looked at all of that STUFF on the TOP SHELF and decided it had to go. It needed a new home. It needed to be not the first thing that I see when I look up from my computer and towards the wall.

I wanted more inspirational things than old boxes with pens, markers, scissors and such. Yes, the little wooden boxes are kind of cute. In fact, they are old cheese mold boxes. To prove this, they have words like “Kraft” and “Windsor Club Cheese” on the side.”

But I digress.

When I look up from my computer, I wanted to see things that inspire me. Not a bunch of stuff that is, well, just there so I can grab quickly when I need something. Yes, I still needed that stuff nearby. But the first thing that I see?

So, I began a quick little office desk make-over.

20190121_093636

First, I cleaned everything off of my desk, including my laptop. And then, I started over. I put the boxes with stuff under the shelf. I moved the files around in the cubbies on the end of the shelf. I went looking for artwork and pictures and things that inspire me. Yes, the big picture with the Holstein cow had been hanging above my desk. I knew that I wanted to keep this. I just wanted a few other things to put ON the shelf that remind me of why I do the things that I do each week. I found the “Grateful” picture holder my sister Debbie gave me. I found a picture of Jesus coming down from the cross that I bought while traveling in Europe. I found a picture of Hubby Rick and I with our grandkids … and then had to go find a picture frame to put it in. I found two Bonnie Mohr prints, who happens to be my FAVORITE artist. While Bonnie has painted lots of agricultural scenes, I love her inspirational work and included two of these on my inspirational wall. And see the little candle on the end? It was given to me by my friend Betty, right before Christmas. For no reason at all, other than just to say, “Thank you.”

20190121_093807

I’m not sure if the wall will help me be a better writer. Or be more diligent about my work. But it sure is a lot prettier to look at.

20190121_093604

We all need inspiration. When we read scripture, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the very words we read were inspired by God. These words are given to us a gift to challenge us to look at our daily living and see where we might just need a bit of fine tuning, a little correction, a little forgiveness asking.

20190121_093722

I know that most of the ideas I share on my blog aren’t really unique to me. Most ideas actually came to me through some type of inspiration. Something I read here. Something I noticed there. Something that I saw in my life and thought maybe might be inspiration to someone else as well.

20190121_093815

What inspires you? How do you surround yourself with things that are important and inspiration to you? Where can you build yourself a little inspiration wall of your favorite things?

20190121_093704

For inspiration that comes to me in many different ways, I am grateful.

Lord God – what an inspiration You are to many! Through your biblical words, the design of nature, the community of brothers and sisters we see daily. How could anyone other than You create such an amazing world! Please keep inspiring us to be Your hands and feet of Your kingdom.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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

Gratitude Day 199 – Serenity

Mon., Jan. 21, 2019

Ephesians 4:2 – Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love,

Anyone struggling with not keeping up with the goals you have for yourself?

Me too.

And then, I ran across this saying:

other serenity prayer

You maybe familiar with the Serenity Prayer. It goes like this:

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

It’s a common prayer used in recover and 12-step programs. But this isn’t the only place it can be helpful. I think it’s a great reminder for daily living. It’s OK to acknowledge there are things we can and cannot affect and change. And it’s OK to be able to identify between the difference.

I also like this alternative version because it reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect. Some days, I feel like I am able to be more gracious with myself. Other days, not so much. On those days I’m not very gracious, it’s easy to focus on everything that I could have done better. I could have eaten better, made more time for exercise, checked more things off of my to-do list, wasted less time, focused on the most important things first … the list goes on and on.

Maybe, some days, it’s OK to not be at the top of your game. It’s acceptable to take life a little slower and enjoy moments.

So, if you are one of those people who isn’t very gracious with yourself, read these words carefully. Maybe even speak them aloud, as a prayer. Not only say them; believe them.

I’m a beloved child of God.

I am enough for today.

Grant me the grace I need right now.

Help me see my value and worth through God’s eyes and not just my own.

May I know God loves me, just as I am.

For accepting grace for myself, I am grateful.

Holy God – sometimes, it’s just easier to see our faults than recognize the good things we’ve done. Help us be gracious with ourselves. May we know that you love us just the way we are. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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

Gratitude Day 197 – Signs of Gratitude

Fri., Jan. 18, 2019

Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe,

“You sure have a lot of things in your house with the words ‘grateful’ and ‘thankful’ on them,” our 8-year-old granddaughter Ellie told me recently.

20190116_110619

We were sitting at my desk searching the internet for fun gymnastic photos for Ellie. When I looked up, I saw two items on my desk, each with one of those words.

20190116_110615

She had a point.

20190116_110639

My mind quickly began recalling the various other items in our house that express one of these words or a variation of them. Point is? Ellie is right. There ARE lots of things in our house that include these words.

Then came Ellie’s next question, “Why?”

20190116_110726

Why do I have a variety of things expressing these words?

Because these words mean a lot to me. They capture the essence of one of my core values. No matter what is going on in my life or the world, I have much to be grateful and thankful for. Rather than spending ridiculous amounts of energy focusing on things that disappoint me or I wish were different (and often out of my control), I choose to surround myself with the thousands and thousands of ways I truly am blessed. Having little reminders throughout our house is a way to subcontiously remind myself that I am truly blessed.

Because, I am.

DSC06200

Sure, I’d like to lose some weight. And be more productive with my time. I wish I would say all the right things in difficult situations, rather than the wrong things that often come out of my mouth. I’d like to be more humble and listen more. I wish I would stop comparing myself to others and be completely happy with who I am.

 

Most days, there is this little voice inside of me that tries to lure me to a place where I know I could easily become cynical and question why there always seems to be some crazy thing in my life lurking just around the corner. Before this becomes the most important thought in my day, I choose to counter these difficult thoughts with gratitude … thankfulness … blessings. Maybe having these little reminders scattered throughout our house is one way to remind myself that no matter what happens today, my glass is more than half full. I believe in a God who will help me navigate what ever challenge comes my way. At the end of every day, I have thousands of reasons why I am a very blessed person.

How did I answer Ellie? I told her I have items with these words scattered around our house because they are important to me. They are little reminders of what is most important, like she, her brothers and cousins. I hope these words will encourage other people to also be grateful and thankful.

I know this is a lot for an 8-year-old to capture. But, it’s how I feel. And why I surround myself with these words as daily reminders of what perspective I want to see life through.

So, what two or three words are the ones that inspire you the most? What few words do you want to have others see in you? How do you integrate these words into your daily life?

20190107_003737

For little reminders of what is most important to me, I am grateful.

Lord God – when life gets busy, full and overwhelming, it’s easy to lose sight of what is most important. Help us to find small, easy things to help us find our core values each and every day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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

Gratitude Day 194 – Perspective

Mon., Jan. 14, 2019

1 Peter 2:4 – Now you are coming to him as to a living stone. Even though this stone was rejected by humans, from God’s perspective it is chosen, valuable.

Recently, our grandkids were at our house for the day. Granddaughter Ellie shared with me that she is signed up for photography in 4-H but only has a polaroid camera. We spent time looking at my “nice” camera, an entry model SLR Sony. After I showed her how to properly hold it, carry it and take a basic picture, she was off and taking pictures.

Soon, her older brother Waylan wanted to also takes pictures. After he went through the same basic learning steps, he also was snapping away.

After they were gone, I put the memory card from the camera in my laptop to see the pictures they took. The first one that popped up was this one.

dsc07377

I knew that I was in for a treat.

dsc07335

As I scrolled through the photos, one word kept coming into my mind: perspective. Their little brains just look at things from a slightly different perspective than my aged brain does.

dsc07254

Things are just a little different from their vantage point of life, experience and stage of life.

dsc07320

What they see is different from what I see.

dsc07253

How they frame their lives as a child born in the 21st century with significantly different technology sources and experiences is vastly different from how I grew up.

dsc07350

Yes, some of the photos were blurry. Mind you, this was their first time using an SLR camera. (I think this was little brother Dylan’s attempt to take a picture. I should have realized this when he asked, “Why is it always blurry?)

dsc07327

What an interesting lesson for me.

dsc07324

You see, we all see the world from a slightly, or maybe not so slightly, different point of view. It’s easy to think that our position is “right.” Or we become frustrated when someone has a completely different launching point than we do. We loose patience when someone makes the same mistake over and over, unless that person is ourselves.

dsc07340

In a world that has cultured a significant “me” mentality, we’ve forgotten that others have points of view as well. Others have different vantage points than we do. Just because another’s perspective is skewed from our position, their perspective may not always be wrong and our position always right. They are just different.

dsc07169

Do we ever contemplate what God’s perspective our world might be today? Does God laugh or cry when God sees the ridiculous, silly and potentially offensive things that we do?

dsc07193

It can be very easy for us to assume God’s perspective and try to articulate it to anyone who will hear. Maybe we’re right. And maybe, we’re way off base from what God would say.

dsc07258

I know this post began with just some pictures that our grandkids took over the weekend. But maybe in these simple photos, there is a lesson for us. Opportunity for us to ponder. Reasons to ruminate.

dsc07319

Perspective. There’s a lot to discover here. If we only stop and think about some one else’s perspective than our own.

dsc07302

For different perspectives around me, I am grateful.

dsc07345

Almighty God – thank you for the simplest shift of perspective when I see through the lenses of a little person. May we be just a bit more tolerant of someone else’s perspective today. Help me see that my perspective may not be the only “right” perspective. And Holy God, may I not be completely frustrated when someone else’s perspective challenges me. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

All pictures taken by our grankids. No cropping or editting. Just their perspective.

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