Refresh Wednesday – Lenten Edition

Gratitude Day 230

Wed., Mar. 13, 2019

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

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

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

There wasn’t one.

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

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

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

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

pantry

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

 

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

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

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

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

And I sent the leftovers with them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings –

Dianne

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Prepare for Lent – before Wednesday!!

Gratitude Day 223

Mon., Mar. 4, 2019

Joel 2:12 – Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your hearts, with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow;

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It’s coming this week. Ash Wednesday is coming this week.

So, what’s the big deal about Ash Wednesday?

Would you like to know a bit more? Great. Let me share.

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Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, which sets aside 40 days before Easter. Lent is a time for personal reflection; a time to re-evaluate where and how you have been drawn into the world’s ways and away from God’s ways. It’s finding the balance of living in the world as well as living in God’s way. Often, it’s a difficult tight rope between the two. Lent is a time to ponder your personal journey between these two ways. It’s a great opportunity to see where you are doing well and where you could make improvement. It’s a time when you can seek clarity in your life and relationship with God.

Blurry plant

Lent also begins a tradition of people “eliminating” or “fasting” from something so they can feel closer to God. As Jesus “gave up” his life for our benefit, we are encouraged to “give up” or “fast” something important to us during these 40 days. Historically, Catholics do not eat meat on Friday. I try not to eat sugar or sweets during Lent. One year, Hubby Rick gave up catch-up for Lent. For some people, this may not seem like a big deal. For Rick? It was a HUGE deal! (I think he ate a whole bottle of ketchup on Easter that year.)

Lent 2019

While I think fasting a food or food group during Lent helps us recognize the sacrifice Jesus made for us, there is another way to look at Lent. Maybe, the fast should be more about our hearts and less about what we put into our mouths. What behavior could we consider eliminating or reducing? What hurtful things in our lives could we live without?

This Lent

Recently, I put together my “fast from” list for Lent 2019. Here it is:

Fasting Lent

These are some areas in my life where I know I could make improvements. And while I won’t be perfect, I hope that this little list can be a daily reminder that these are priorities for this Lenten fast.

Fasting with table

What are some areas which you could fast from this Lent? Sit down and make a list. Just don’t wait until Wednesday to put the pen to the paper and the thoughts into action. Use my list as inspiration. Share it near and far. For with fasting, we can return to the Lord. With fasting, we can eliminate those things which keep us from fully loving God. With some intention this Lent, may, just maybe, we will see our personal relationship with God sour and grow and explode. Now wouldn’t that be a wonderful way to get our hearts prepared for Easter!!

Lenten Prayer

For the optimism of fasting behaviors during Lent, I am grateful.

Ideas for Lent Fasting

Lord God – May we get excited about fasting this Lent. Help us see behaviors that need some fine-tuning. Most importantly, may this approaching Lent help us truly appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for our benefit. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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The Beginning of Lent

Lent 2018 image AW-page-001Wed., Feb. 14, 2018

While most people will see today as Valentine’s Day, I pray many will also acknowledge today as the beginning of Lent: Ash Wednesday.

It’s the day Christians begin a 40-day pilgrimage towards Easter. It’s a time for us to contemplate our relationship with God: who God is in our lives and what God means to us.

I love this quote by Alicia Britt Chole: Lent is about thinning our lives in order to thicken our communion with God.

Often, Lent is thought of as a time we deprive ourselves of something. I have abstained from sweets during Lent for years. While this is OK, if Lent is only eliminating a food we love, then maybe we are missing some of the intention of Lent. Ultimately, Lent is about providing opportunities for us to feel closer to God.

I’m attaching a link to a “Daily Lent Activity List.” 2018LentList

Provided by Portico Collective, this is a nice list of ways we can maybe think about how God is part of our daily lives in a very practical and real way. I encourage you to print off the list and check off a box each day. This is one of my Lenten priorities.

Father God – thank you for this long-standing tradition of re-examining ourselves during Lent. Teach me something new about You and myself this next 40 days. May you amaze and surprise me daily.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Misplaced or Lost?

Wed., Mar. 1, 2017

Matthew 18:14 – That’s how it is with your Father in heaven. He doesn’t want any of these little ones to be lost.samsung-galaxy-s7-gold-platinum-964x750

Monday night, I misplaced my phone for a few hours. Notice, I said “misplaced.” Not “lost.”

I worked late at the church. When I arrived home, I put away the groceries, got the mail and sat down to sort through it. A couple hours later, I realized that I didn’t know where my phone was. I searched my purse, my work bag and the car. No phone. I retraced my steps. Still no luck. Maybe I left it at church? It was late when I went back at church. As I turned the light on in my office and saw no phone on my desk, my stomach got an empty feeling.

Did I leave it at the grocery story? I couldn’t remember. I’d worn a fleece jacket and my phone had been in my pocket most of the day. It wasn’t there now. Where did it go? Another walk through of the places I’d been since getting home. Still no phone.

By own, it was late into the night and I was trying not to panic. I could use the alarm on the clock next to Rick’s side of the bed. Surely it would show up before I left for my part-time job in the morning? I just didn’t know when. I’d searched for over an hour with no success. By now, I was very annoyed with myself. I really do not want to be “one of those people” who is always misplacing and loosing things. How could I be so irresponsible?

One last thought. I sat in our snuggler when looking at the mail. The snugger is bigger than a recliner but smaller than a love seat. And it reclines. Hands down, our favorite piece of furniture in our TV room. Rick is forever losing his phone in the snuggler. He loses cups, glasses, pencils, the paper and a myriad of other things in that little space between the cushion and the outer edge. I literally ran down the stairs into the TV room and put my hands along the edges of the snuggler. There was my misplaced phone. It slid out of my pocket while reviewing the mail.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is a specific season on the Christian church calendar for believers and seekers to draw themselves closer to God. To be more mindful, more intentional and more disciplined about how we seek and live God in our daily lives. Challenged by another Christian recently, my focus this Lent is “mindfulness.” I know there is a God. I know God loves me. What I do not do a good job of is making sure I am mindful in how I plan my day, make decisions and depend upon God to help me make the best choices possible. Rick and I often wonder whether the hundreds of little decisions we make daily are clutter on God’s desk or important to God. What I do know is that far too often, I blow through the day without mindfully including God in the things I say and the actions I take. I certainly do not want to be held responsible for the time I waste and the distractions that sidetrack me.

Misplacing my phone challenged me to think: how often do I misplace God in my daily life? How much time do I spend searching for God when I’m feeling challenged or overwhelmed? How can I be more mindful about not depending upon only myself in my daily life but making sure I share the yoke with God? This Lent, I want to be mindful. I don’t believe I’ve lost God in my daily life. I sometimes just feel I’ve misplaced making sure God is involved and a part of all the decisions and opportunities before me each day.

My goal is to say this one line many, many times a day to help keep me more mindful of God’s presence in my life: “God, slow me down and help me mindfully see you in my life right now.” When I do not include God as I would like, I pray that I have enough good sense to go hunting for God and keep searching for God until I reach down and feel him in my soul.

Lord God – Please forgive me for the thousands and millions of times I walked through my life without fully depending upon you. Place it upon my heart the great ways we can work together to achieve great things for your kingdom. God, slow we down and help me mindfully see you in my life right now.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Easter Sunday – Seeing Jesus

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Passport

Passport to Prayer – Lent 2016

Sunday – Mar. 27, 2016

John 20:14: At this, Mary turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

What does the empty tomb represent for you? Take each letter of EASTER and write down a word that represents what Easter means for you.

____ Attend Worship

How can we express the profound joy in our hearts? With the women we run and share the joy of this day. Fill us with faith that does not allow death as the answer. Help us live resurrection this day! Alleluia!  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

I have put together a Passport of Prayer for Lent 2016. Would you like the complete Passport to Prayer guide? Please e-mail me at dideaton@hotmail.com

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Holy Saturday – A Day of Waiting

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Passport

Passport to Prayer – Lent 2016

Saturday – Mar. 26, 2016 

John 19:41-42: At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.   

Can you wait patiently? Who is a very patient person you know? With our instantaneous culture, patience is hard to come by. Yet, this is a day of waiting. What are you waiting for? How will you know it has arrived?

Where are you, O Lord? We wait and wait. We wait, unwilling to hope and yet unwilling to doubt. Prepare our heart for an upcoming day of celebration. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

I have put together a Passport of Prayer for Lent 2016. Would you like the complete Passport to Prayer guide? Please e-mail me at dideaton@hotmail.com

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Good Friday – It is Finished

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Passport

Passport to Prayer – Lent 2016

Friday – Mar. 25, 2016

John 19:30: When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Designate 30 minutes for prayer and silence. Read John 19, the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. Pick one verse that is meaningful to you and pray it multiple times. Contemplate what Jesus’ life and death means to you.

_____ Attend Good Friday Worship

Why does hatred win this day, O Lord? Why does light die? Evil dance? We say with the thief, “Remember me, Lord Jesus!” Remove our veil of doubt to see him bear our grief. With the centurion, may we proclaim, “Surely, this was the Son of God.” Lord, have mercy on us. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

I have put together a Passport of Prayer for Lent 2016. Would you like the complete Passport to Prayer guide? Please e-mail me at dideaton@hotmail.com

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Maundy Thursday – A Towel & a Basin

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Passport

Passport to Prayer – Lent 2016

Thursday – Mar. 24, 2016

John 13:4-5: So Jesus got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  

It was the job the lowliest servant usually had. Instead, Jesus washed the dirty, smelly, stinky feet of his disciples. In an ultimate example of serving, Jesus teaches us what it means to be a servant leader. Who recently has “washed” your feet? Whose feet do you need to “wash”? If possible, be in contact with the sixth person you chose to reach out to this Lent today.

_____ Attend Maundy Thursday Worship

Washing their feet. Breaking the bread and naming it your body. Did you lift a cup and call it a new covenant? Your words at the garden rip open our hearts. Did you love the world this much?  Fill us with a deep desire to love. Free us to believe what we cannot understand. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

I have put together a Passport of Prayer for Lent 2016. Would you like the complete Passport to Prayer guide? Please e-mail me at dideaton@hotmail.com

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

 

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Passport

Fasting vs. Feasting Reflection

Passport to Prayer – Lent 2016

Wednesday – Mar. 23, 2016

Joel 2:12: That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me all your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, mourning.

As Lent began, you identified behaviors you wanted to fast and behaviors you wanted to feast upon. Consider the last 40 days. When has fasting this behavior(s) been difficult? Was it easier or more difficult to feast? Ask God to encourage you on this path of fasting and feasting. Consider adding a new set of behaviors.

Making lifelong change is possible only when you become part of the process, Almighty God. Thank you for being patient with me as I make positive changes to my life. Thank you for allowing grace when I fail and give up. Encourage me anew to continue this journey of modeling behavior desire by You. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

I have put together a Passport of Prayer for Lent 2016. Would you like the complete Passport to Prayer guide? Please e-mail me at dideaton@hotmail.com

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

 

 

Me, Betray Jesus?

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Passport

Passport to Prayer – Lent 2016

Tuesday – Mar. 22, 2016

John 22:4-5: And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money.    

Why Judas agreed to betray Jesus is difficult to understand. Before we pass judgement on him, think over the last year of your life. Was there a time when you chose not to acknowledge your faith in Christ? When did you choose to “fit in” and let your confidence in God slide under the table? Have you ever chosen financial gain over honoring God’s kingdom? Address these situations with God in prayer.

For some reason, O Jesus, it is so much easier to point a finger to those we see dishonoring you than to acknowledge when we do this. Remind us anew that nothing can separate us from you; even when we turn away from you. Thank you for always welcoming us back into your arms.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

I have put together a Passport of Prayer for Lent 2016. Would you like the complete Passport to Prayer guide? Please e-mail me at dideaton@hotmail.com

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