Gratitude Day 103 – Rest & Sabbath

Thurs., Aug. 23, 2018

Ezekiel 20:20 – I told them to respect my Sabbath to show that they were my people and that I was the Lord their God.

Does your soul ever need a little rest? A break from the daily activities of life? Just a little space to breath?

This past weekend, Hubby Rick and I took a little Sabbath. Our eldest grandson, Braeden, joined us. We spent time at my sister’s camper which is near Lake Eau Claire.

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Rick and Braeden’s main goal for the weekend: spend time on the water. My nephew Kevin was their tour guide. They fished, kayaked and rode the tube behind the boat. And they fished some more. (I wasn’t along for the fishing; thus, no fish pictures.)

Braeden's splashRick and Braeden paddled the kayaks to a little island in the lake. Other people were jumping into the water with this swing rope. Of course, the guys had to do this as well.

Rick and rope swing

Rick got extra points as a cool grandpa when he did this. Amazingly, his sandals stayed on into the water.

Towing kayas

After this adventure, it was time for me to ride on the tube. Knowing it would take awhile for the guys to paddle back to shore where the tube was, they got creative and let the boat tug them back to shore. Only a couple mishaps along the way.

Towing kayaks 2While the guys went fishing, I had some work to catch up on. And took time to just be with God and my journal.

journal

Have you had moments of rest and Sabbath this summer? How did you feel with even just a little down time? What are the ways you celebrate Sabbath in your life?

The time went quickly. Everyone would have enjoyed a bit more time on the water. But we celebrated the rest, time away and Sabbath we had.

For rest and Sabbath, I am grateful.

Almighty God – You know better than we do of our need to let our souls rest and catch a breath. Even short Sabbaths allow us time to breathe, be and restore ourselves. I pray we seize the small opportunities in our lives to rest in Your grace and refresh our souls. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 99 –Blessing of Prayer

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Sat., Aug. 11, 2018

1 Peter 1:21 – Because of this, your trust can be in God who raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. Now your faith and hope can rest in him alone.

This week has been one of those especially full weeks. A week when there do not see to be enough hours in the day. When I just try to figure out what really is the most important thing to do in each moment.

When I feel like there is a lot going on, I also desire for moment of escape. Diversion. Not having to think. A few moments when I can put my life on hold. The problem is this: when I want those moments of escape, I don’t always make the best choices. I choose the something that will not really restore my soul. I choose something that lets me escape reality for just a few minutes.

As I was driving home tonight, the radio was on in the car. I turned it off. This is not uncommon for me. Sometimes, I just want the quiet of nothing but my own thought running through my head. And so, I just drive.

We all have seasons that are more demanding than others. Whether they last for a day or two, a week or two or for a couple of months, it helps me when I know this is not forever. Sometimes I know the timeframe. Other times, I don’t. What I do know is that I can trust God to be with me. I’m not alone. I can journey through whatever lies in my day because my faith and hope can rest in Christ alone.

For this, I am grateful.

Dear God – thanks for being with me whether I am fully aware of the need for you or not. When we feel overwhelmed, I pray your presence will increase and encourage us to simply look to you.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 91 – Sabbath

Sabbath

Sun., July 29, 2018

Matthew 12:1 – About that time, Jesus was walking one day through some grain fields with his disciples. It was on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of worship, and his disciples were hungry; so they began breaking off heads of wheat and eating the grain. But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, “Your disciples are breaking the law. They are harvesting on the Sabbath.”

Today is Sunday. A day of Sabbath.

Or a day that should be a day of Sabbath.

Sabbath is not easy for me. For years, I worked on Sunday. It was a big day. I got up early, lead worship, tried to listen and be with people and appreciate being in a faith community. Often, I would take a nap in the afternoon. It has not been uncommon for other church-related activities in the afternoon and/or evening. It is just how Sundays rolled.

I am not currently serving a church as a pastor. Finding a new Sunday rhythm has been a change; for Hubby Rick and myself. Honestly, we’re still trying to find it.

Traditionally, Sabbath is a break from everyday life and spending more time with God. (This isn’t a Webster’s definition. It’s my understanding.) With overfull lives for most families today, Sabbath often becomes just one more thing we cross off of our to-do list.

Attend worship. Check.

Try to slow down. Semi-check.

Enjoy time with family. Depends on the Sunday.

Listen for God. Is this even possible?

I have heard all the reasons why Sabbath doesn’t make sense for the 21st century:

It’s the only day I get to sleep in.

It’s family day.

I just need a break.

For some, it’s another day of full-on taxi mode.

Maybe what is most important about Sabbath happens within our hearts, not just our calendars. Sometimes, our souls need a break. Silence. The right kind of uplifting music. Less doing and more being.

Here’s to today, a day of Sabbath. Create an opportunity for you to just be with the Lord. Take a nap. Linger. Hold the hand of someone precious to you. Smile. Breathe deep.

For Sabbath, I am grateful.

Lord God – thank you for the example of rest. I pray we create an opportunity to rest in your arms today. Refresh us and renew us this day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 57 – Offload Oasis

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Mon., June 4, 2018

Matthew 11:28 – “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.

Welcome to the newest addition to our backyard.

20180603_115313Our little swing area. A little area to rest and restore. A little spot to relax and let the world stop for just a minute.

While on vacation in Belize, we saw some similar swings at a restaurant where we ate. And we talked about creating a similar area in our back yard.

Last fall, Hubby Rick began making the swings. Yep, he made them. These are custom swings only found in the Vielhuber backyard.

They took a little tweaking. But they are ready for visitors.

Using a couple existing tree limbs in the backyard, he added a couple more limbs to create just the design to hang the swings.

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And then he built the platform, so we can sit there year around.

20180603_115351Just in front of the swings is where we can have a fire. With a few stepping stones to complete the look.

20180603_115205There are times when we need to hit the pause button on life. Stop Breath. Turn some of our load over to God and seek rest.

I envision our little swing area in the backyard being just a place to do so.

For this, I am grateful.

 

How easily we can become overwhelmed with the load of the world. Do we take time to offload and let you help us carry the load? I pray this little oasis in our backyard can be a place where such offloading can happen. Along with smore making. Thank you, Lord God, for instructions to share our loads with you. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Boot Camp Time

Jan. 8, 2015

 

Mark 6:31

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, “Come with my by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”Boot_Camp_11 

A week ago, I promised myself to write more this year, taking time to capture and reflect upon life. It’s a week later and I’m finally at the computer. I began by opening up the blog I wrote on 1.1.2014. Did I need to read this! Problem is, until this week, I hadn’t been living what I wrote about a year ago. In early 2014, I reflected upon how much had changed in the last 12 months. I could write the same words again12 months later.

 

The last period of my life has been “full.”  We often say this. Problem is I’m ashamed for letting my life get back to being so overfull. Balancing multiple jobs. Overwhelmed looking at my calendar. Wondering how and why I got myself into this situation.

 

I am not alone. I think of presidents of companies and countries, people with multiple young children, single parents struggling to make ends meet. Why am I complaining?

 

What it gets at is what is at the center of my life. What is important. Whose am I? I can do lots of “good” things. Most people have too many good things to choose. The question becomes, “What good things do I give up?”

 

While not completely intentional, I’ve taken time this week to reflect upon my life, where I’m at, what is important and where I’m going. Today, I realized I’m kind-of having a “boot camp week” with snippets of time to be. I often imagine having a day away to write a life manifesto with specific goals and outcomes for the next period of my life. But it doesn’t happen. Often, life situations change. Expected and unexpected things happen and they affect us. Boot camp periods are needed to reflect, renew and reimagine.

 

They are also an opportunity to reinstall or reincorporate ways to renew ourselves. I’m back exercising daily, reading, praying and studying God’s word. I’m ashamed an overfull schedule meant those things fell off the radar. I want to create healthy ways to rest and renew myself, rather than less healthy and mindless ways.

 

My encouragement today is if you are feeling full, overwhelmed or depleted, work some boot camp time into your life. Maybe you can’t take a full day. Ease in a few hours over the next couple of weeks and let yourself be. Our bodies are too busy doing. We need time to just be. Thank goodness Jesus saw this need in his life and in the life of his disciples. Let it be so for me.

 

Often at the start of a new calendar year, we feel pressure to make a bunch of goals for ourselves. Help us see the more helpful exercise of simply being with you and taking away what you place on our heart and in our minds. Help us find a little boot camp time to just be with you. Amen.

 

Blessings –

Dianne

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