Gratitude Day 213 – 20-Minute Thursday

Thus., Feb. 7, 2019

Philippians 4:23 – The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

At the beginning of 2019, I was determined to break down little sections of my day into 20-minute intervals. These little time windows provide me opportunities to knock something off my to-do list in a relatively short period of time. Rather than being overwhelmed with the time needed to do something, I simply dedicated 20-minutes towards it.

For the first time in a really loooooong time, I’m feeling like there are moments (not days, not hours, not weeks), when I have just a bit of control over my life schedule.

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Mind you … there remains lots of opportunities for improvement. But when I think of a task in terms of 20-minutes, my attitude changes. I can do something for 20-minutes.

Interested in a couple 20-minute examples? Good. Here they are.

Exercise. Earlier, I shared how a 20-minute exercise interval has help me be more consistent with exercise. There have been a couple days when I haven’t exercise. But generally, I’ve been very committed to this. It is amazing. I CAN talk myself into walking for 20-minutes. Or lifting weights. Or doing a workout video. Some days, I have set-aside two 20-minute exercise times. Or maybe a 20-minute and a 10-minute. These bite-sized windows of exercise feel manageable for me.

Cleaning. Our hard wood floors really needed a good cleaning, especially the butler’s pantry and the kitchen. Like, down on your hands-and-knees cleaning. In one 20-minute timeframe, I not only cleaned these two rooms … but all the wood floors in the house! Something I had been dreading for a few days … done in 20-minutes!

Correspondence. Who doesn’t love receiving a real letter or card in the mail? A true handwritten one? I know that hand-written letters and cards may soon be extinct. Because I appreciate them, I keep sending them.

Each year, I begin January with great expectations of doing this. By week two, the enthusiasm has waned. I’ve already missed a birthday or two. I give up.

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This year, I am using a weekly 20-minute window for correspondence. Yes, I have been late with some cards … but progress has been made.

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I began by getting the cards I have organized. I keep them in a couple different containers near my desk. For this box, I made dividers for different kinds of cards. As I put cards in their appropriate category, I made sure the card had an envelope that would fit.

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Now, once a week, I spend 20-minutes getting the next batch of cards ready to send. I put them in a pre-designated spot until they are ready to be mailed; a spot I see every day. If I need a reminder of what day to send a card, I just put a little sticky note on the envelope.

 

Preparing a card gives me a minute or two to think about this person, why I keep in touch with them as well as an opportunity to pray for them. I thank God for their place in my and other’s lives. As I seal the envelope and attach the return label and stamp, I ask God to bless them and their family.

We will be on vacation next week. This week, I put together Valentine’s to send to our grandkids. I want these five precious people to know their Grandparents love and pray for them. (I think they like getting mail. Maybe it’s just the Subway gift cards.)

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The Apostle Paul wrote many letters. And, we are able to read some of them! These letters, found in the New Testament, were written to specific people. Sometimes, Paul was responding to questions he or someone else had been asked. Other times, he shared something important on his heart. I doubt Paul ever envisioned billions of people still reading his correspondence from about 2,000 years ago. And yet, we do.

 

Take 10-minutes and read the last few sentences of some of Paul’s letters. Look at the New Testament books of Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Ephesians and Colossians. Or the personalized letters he wrote to specific people: 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon. See how often Paul ends his letters, praying for the people.

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Maybe we think the correspondence to someone else or a prayer for the intended recipient of the card will make a difference in their lives. Interestingly, I think it also makes a difference in our lives, 20-minutes at a time.

How a 20-minute interval of sharing correspondence adds value to my daily life, I am grateful.

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Lord God – in this hurry, scurry world that we live in, we often fail to slow down enough to send messages of appreciation to those we care for. Place it upon our hearts someone we can reach out to this very day.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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

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Gratitude Day 191 – Forced Sabbath

Wed., Jan. 9, 2019

John 11:4 – When he heard this, Jesus said, “This illness isn’t fatal. It’s for the glory of God so that God’s Son can be glorified through it.”

Some days … or weeks … just don’t turn out as anticipated.

On Sunday night, I sat down to plan the week. I was so excited! There seemed more “space” this week. More time to work on things I have just been waiting to do. This would be the week I would get things organized for 2019!

And then, Monday morning happened.

I went to my part-time job, as planned. It’s almost an hour drive. Enroute, I just didn’t feel right. I was tired. I became nauseous. I’m the type of person who usually “bucks up,” so I willed myself to “just get through the day.”

About an hour later, my buck-up attitude was highly diminished. Feeling like I could vomit any minute, I looked at my to-do list. What MUST I get done today? I would focus on these items.

By the end of the next hour, I realized that I was accomplishing very little. How would I get home if I really got ill at work, knowing it is nearly an hour drive? My boss had been out the previous week a couple days ill. He was empathic. I decided to go home.

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For the next 24 hours, I spent over 23 of them in bed. Before Hubby Rick left for work, he suggested I move to a room with a TV, so I could watch a couple episodes of my favorite shows. I couldn’t even fathom this. I could only keep myself wrapped up in the electric blanket that is on our bed, trying to keep the chills away. After some texting with my friend, Lisa, who also happens to be a nurse, I knew that I needed to get some liquids in me. My attempt is the photo of my nightstand.

I know none of you need or want to hear about my latest bout of the flu. This isn’t what this blog is about. At some point, I realized that sometimes, our bodies know us better than we know ourselves. Sometimes, they want or even need to just shut down for a bit and be. Simply be.

Yes, it would be are agreeable for most of us if this happened in a way other than the flu. Unfortunately, most of us won’t allow ourselves this opportunity. Maybe our bodies take things into their own hands and force us into a little Sabbath time, whether we want it or not?

There was very little I wanted to do while in bed. Even reading, something that normally I look forward to, didn’t make the list. All I could do was rest, sleep, drink some fluids and pray. And repeat. And repeat.

No, I didn’t make out a fabulous list of goals for 2019. Or plan our next vacation. I could only curl up in my favorite position in bed and try to keep the flu symptoms at bay.

So what I could do? Appreciate that normally, I can do physically whatever I want. Feel blessed that I haven’t had a day or two like this in maybe 10 years. (Yes, I’ve had a few days where I haven’t felt great. But nothing like this where I really couldn’t do anything but lay in bed.) Count my blessings that I am a very healthy person who has no significant health issues. Pray for those who struggle with their health EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Would have I preferred to do so other things during this forced Sabbath? You bet. Do I have a greater appreciation for those many things I take for granted every day? You bet. Will I try to be thankful for the littlest things in life today? I sure hope so.

As anticipated, 48 hours later I am feeling much, much better. Rather than seeing these two days as “lost” days, I pray that I recall this forced Sabbath as a little blessing in my life this week. Yes, I have had moments when I feel frustrated that some things, I planned to do this week will get pushed to later. But it’s OK. A little Sabbath is worth it.

For unexpected Sabbath and time to just be, I am grateful.

Almighty God – how thankful I am for my health. How thankful I am that on most days, I can do whatever I wish physically.  I lift up those who struggle physically every day. May I be more gracious towards them. Thank you for this small gift of Sabbath this week, even if it came packed very differently from what I would have preferred. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 26 – My Quiet Chair

quiet chair

Fri., Apr. 27, 2018

Luke 6:12 – About that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night there.

This is my special chair. I call it my quiet chair.

This winter, I purchased my quiet chair. And this is where I often begin my days. Just a special place where I can sit down with a cup of coffee and be with God. Read. Journal. Pray. Be still.

It’s my Mary chair, not my Martha chair.

When I was attending seminary, a professor told us about her Sabbath chair. The place where she would go to be with God. She knew God was everywhere; that God was always with her. Her Sabbath chair was where she went to quiet herself and just be with God.

It’s taken me 18 years to get my quiet chair. My Sabbath chair. A little place where my attitude is just a hare different. A place where my heart can slow down. Pause. Listen.

Do I make it to my quiet chair EVERY morning? Not necessarily. But if only for a few minutes, this is where my day begins best.

God is everywhere and anywhere. God journeys with us all day and night long. But sometimes, it’s nice to have a little spot where we can go and remind ourselves of this.

It’s my special chair. My quiet chair.

For this, I am grateful.

Lord Jesus – thank you for the wonderful example of spending quiet time with your heavenly Father. Before so many decisions were implemented by you, you first confirmed them with your God. May this example be replicated in my life. Thank you for this little place where my heart can slow down and I can just be with you. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Alone on the Mountainside

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Passport

Passport to Prayer – Lent 2016

Monday – Mar. 7, 2016

Matthew 14:23: After Jesus had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

Ministry for Jesus had to be exhausting! All the healings, the teachings, the interaction with so many people. How did Jesus restore himself? Often, he purposely rose early in the morning to be alone with God. By keeping control of his schedule, he didn’t let it control him. How do you keep prayer in your daily activities? Does it work for you? Is prayer a time of refreshment for you? Why or why not? Where is a place you find complete silence and solitude? Try this as a prayer location.

Jesus, your example of time away and alone to pray is mind-boggling. It seems nearly impossible for us find any quiet moments. Instill within me a desire to find quiet moments to be just with you every week. Let “busy-ness” not become an excuse. 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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