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,


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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?


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 –


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Gratitude Day 171 – Humor with Honesty

Wed., Dec. 5, 2018

Genesis 30:33 – My honesty will be a witness about me in days to come. 

Today, the 41st president of the United States will be honored and remembered. President George H.W. Bush’s life of service will be recalled.

When I think of his most famous quotes as a president, this is the one that comes to mind:


Don’t you love his honesty?

His other most famous quote might be: “Read my lips. No new taxes.”

Unfortunately, #41 would later come to regret saying these words.

I think this President would say words mattered. This is why he wrote so many letters throughout his life. He wanted people to value words like he did.

This is a man who believed in and dedicated his life to service. Service to his country, his wife, his family and his values.


Somehow, even his service dog understood President Bush’s value of service. And now, he follows his master’s model of service.

Honesty. Service. Dedication.

Not bad traits to embody.

All wrapped together with his honest words.

For humor with honesty, I am grateful.

Holy God – I pray we value honesty, service and dedication to the same degree that you do. May we be inspired by those who have lived these examples and choose to reflect these values which we learn from you in our daily living. Amen.

Blessings –


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Gratitude Day 111 – Prayer

Tues., Sept. 4, 2018

Psalm 39:1 – I told myself, “I’ll be careful not to sin by what I say, and I’ll muzzle my mouth when evil people are near.”

I was determined to focus on prayer yesterday, which was Labor Day. But, by 10 AM, I was completely distracted.

By mosquitoes.

We’ve had endless rain the last two weeks. Lots and lots of flooding. Not where we immediately live. The hometowns where we used to live and where Rick grew up have sustained considerable damage. So many families and businesses have been affected. It’s really become a tragedy.

And it continues to rain.

There are times when there is a break in the clouds and the sun peaks out for a while. It feels wonderful. But soon, dark, heavy clouds roll in from the west and the sound of rain is all around.

The weatherperson assured us of no rain until Monday afternoon. Just shortly after I heard this, yep, there was the sound of rain. Again.

Finally, about 10 AM, there was a small break. I had not been in the garden for a few days. I knew the beans needed to be picked. We’ve had a ridiculous crop of cucumbers this year. So, I ventured out to our small plot, large basket in hand, ready to gather up the produce

As I lifted leaves to pick cucumbers, I was swarmed. By mosquitoes. The next leaf I lifted, it happened again. When I stepped into a new area of the garden, literally hundreds of mosquitoes flew up from under the leaves.

Before long, they were biting me and bothering me. A quick trip into the house for some spray and I felt adequately armed. For about 45 minutes until the mosquitoes won out.

We’ve probably all heard that funny saying. It questions why Noah let two mosquitoes live at the time of the big flood. Maybe only in Wisconsin where mosquitoes hatch seemingly within hours of any amount of water do we question Noah’s sanity in letting the mosquitoes live.

I know they serve some good purpose. It’s just hard to think of it when they are bothering your legs, arms and face all at the same time. The pesky little buggers know how to ruin a happy trip to the garden.

I tried to remain focused on praying throughout the day. My intention was to be thankful for all the food we and so many others have. But every time I was bit, I was adequately distracted.

Maybe the reason the mosquitoes were in the garden was to help me reflect a little deeper. I am confident there have been people who felt irritated by me, what I said or how I treated them. I can quickly think of a few people who would have liked to swat me into the next county and out of their sight.

So how different am I than those irritating mosquitoes?

In yesterday’s blog, I wrote about how prayer is not about changing God. It’s about changing ourselves.

Did I really anticipate that I would be the one who needs to change? And the lesson was brought forth by thousands of mosquitoes swarming our garden? How I really need to be more careful with the words that I use? And sometimes, I really need to put a muzzle over my mouth?

Today’s lesson from the garden wasn’t so much based on how to cultivate beans, tomatoes or peppers. It was about how I need to use encouraging words when I speak. How can I be more helpful than irritating? When do I need to not say anything unless it is positive?

Taught by thousands of mosquitoes.

And who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

For mosquitoes and the lessons they can teach us, I am grateful.

Lord Jesus – Forgive me for the times that I hurt people’s feelings; when I discouraged people rather than encouraged them; when I should have put a muzzle over my mouth when I didn’t have something positive to say. By your grace, I pray that I can be more encouraging today than an irritant. Amen.

Blessings –


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Gratitude Day 27 – The Porch is Open


Sun., Apr. 29, 2018

Job 29:23 – My words were eagerly accepted like the showers of spring

There are many wonderful little parts of our 110-year-old house. But when people visit, the place we receive the most “ooh’s” and “aah’s” is the porch.

20180428_163425The front of the house is flanked by a nice big, deep porch. This leads into a screened-in wrap-around porch on the south side of the house. Either location is a lovely place to have lunch, visit, drink coffee or quietly start the day.

20180428_163249A couple summers ago, some friends gave us some wicker furniture for the porch. Last spring, I changed out the cushions and loved how they looked. Then, I set-up the front porch as a lounging area. I had great intentions of using the porch a lot last summer. While we often used the table for meals, the lounging area was less consistent.

20180428_163321Spring has been slow in arriving in Wisconsin. Today, it was a bit chilly, but the sun was shining. Rick and I agreed it was time to get the summer furniture on the porch. It was time to open up the porch for visitors.

20180428_163212I still had winter decorations on the porch. After removing these and vacuuming up dead needles and such, I moved the rug to where the wicker furniture would go. After a quick squirt with the hose, the furniture was positioned. Next, came cushions and pillows. I found a few accessories to make the space feel a bit quainter.

20180428_163350We didn’t have time to sit and enjoy the porch furniture today. But I’m hoping soon this will be a regular occurrence.

20180428_163436Today, I am grateful the porch is open and ready for company. I just need to add a sign the church kids gave me last fall.

20180428_163406Stop by anytime. I’ll have the lemonade or coffee ready.

20180428_163525For a porch ready for company, I am grateful.

20180428_163416I await the wonderful conversations that will happen on the porch this year, Lord God. I anticipate many great exchanges of words, watered by your wisdom, to float throughout this area. Thanks for a cozy place for people to gather and simply be. Amen.

Blessings –


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Gratitude Day 19 – A Good Letter


Fri., Apr. 20, 2018

2 Corinthians 13:11 – I close my letter with these last words: Be happy. Grow in Christ. Pay attention to what I have said. Live in harmony and peace. And may the God of love and peace be with you.

It’s time to deal with the boxes.

Several years ago, we moved my Mom from a house into an apartment. There were several boxes of “things” we did not take time to go through. Filled with papers, photos, historical things. I brought the boxes home and promised myself to go through them.

A couple years later, my Mom moved to a nursing home. A few more boxes joined their friends at my house. In-between, we moved.

These boxes are nearing frequent moving status.

There are at least a15 of these boxes at my house. Nearby, I have a few boxes with my own stuff. Rick reminds me that the next time we move, any of these boxes not gone through are going in the garbage.

I have gone through some boxes. The stack has lowered slightly. Before Christmas, I do a quick pass through to find super cool things for our Deaton family gift exchange. Last week, I tackled the boxes for a few hours. It became overwhelming and I usually am not easy overwhelmed.

We started remodeling the future master bedroom suite of our house. The boxes aren’t in the remodeling area but close by. Rick has not-so-gently told me it is time for the boxes to either be gone through or disappear.

I set up a separate area to start going through the boxes. I have a strategy and method now. While I made it through several boxes today, more remain.

What did I find? Lots cards, pictures, family mementos and historical items. There are multiple generations represented with boxes from both grandmothers. I am separating cool items for future Deaton Christmas gift exchanges.

The number of cards is borderline crazy. Many cards have a hand-written letter with them. While I haven’t read all the letters, I am grateful for them. The art of hand-writing letters is disappearing. We send an e-mail, text message or post on social media. When was the last time you wrote a letter? I try to write a few words in a card. This is not the same as writing a letter on a nice piece of stationary. Beautiful handwriting can almost look like art.

These letters remind me that words have meaning. A written letter says, “I care for you and I am making time to speak just to you.” I won’t read EVERY word of these letters. It’s impossible. I have appreciated reading a sentence or two from a letter.

The New Testament contains several letters. We attribute Paul as the author of many. Some letters were written in response to a letter he received. The challenge with this then we only get half of the conversation. I consider his letters very important and influential in the Christian faith. I often use Paul’s words in my life and teaching. I don’t think Paul ever intended for people to be reading his letters 2,000 years later.

I pray we do not lose the art of letter writing. The power of words amazes me. The love we extend to another person as we write special words to someone we care for is powerful. For this, I am grateful.

Letters aren’t new. They have been used for thousands of years. Yet, each one of us can rediscover the power of a written letter.  Encourage us to write a letter today. Amen.

Blessings –


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When Words Escape Us

romans 8.26


Passport to Prayer – Lent 2016

Friday – Mar. 11, 2016

Romans 8:26b: We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.   

Sometimes, we simply do not have words to pray. We’re too disappointed, distraught, exhausted or spent. Words simply escape us. When this happens, we need not worry. For then, the Holy Spirit speaks the words for us, if even the Spirit only groans. May we find comfort in knowing that when words escape us, the Spirit still intervenes.

It seems almost unbelievable that you, O Holy Spirit, would take our place when words escape us. And why should this surprise us? Once again, we see this truly loving and caring God in our midst. Thank you. Amen.

Blessings –


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

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