Cancel

My calendar is peppered with the word “cancel.” It’s easier to erase an appointment if it’s written in pencil. At least the evidence of a failed, re-scheduled, or cancelled date doesn’t hit me in the face every time I view the page. Often I’ll place an un-smiley face nearby to remind me I was none too happy to “X” the event out. Most of the cancels can be traced back to COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

This is the third or fourth time an event or series of events originally planned, and looked forward to, is put on hold or not happening at all.

  • Doctor appointment for my mother-in-law to see her new doctor
  • Breakfast/lunch date for my birthday with my sister (still hasn’t happened)
  • Travel down south to visit family

Disappointment, dashed hopes, plans, dreams gone by the wayside. That’s one perspective—the one I tend to linger in and gravitate to. Woe is me! I can’t do such and such. Go to this place. Have fun.

The flip side is an angle I must work on to develop and make it my go-to lifestyle and automatic reflex.

What if this happened (or didn’t happen), plans adjusted, cancelled because of something else underlying? Something bigger or better? Something neither you or I can see or know on the time spectrum.

Maybe the timing wasn’t the best. If I’d been down south, I’d missed something up north. Who knows? Don’t know if you or I’ll ever know. I’m reminded to be content in whatever circumstances I’m in. Right here and right now. Cancel, no cancel. Re-schedule or no re-schedule.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declared the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

What if I were to dwell on these words? My life would be filled with more joy and less stress. I’m see more blessings in the interim vs. just doom and gloom.

  • What ways can you change your thinking around to think less of what you didn’t get to do or be?

This post has been part of the Five Minute Friday writing challenge group. A challenge to write for 5 minutes on a given topic each week.

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How much time do you spend worrying?

If you’re like me, you spend a fair amount of the day worrying. Especially during these uncertain times in the middle of a pandemic in an election year!

On day two of the writers’ conference, I became feverish and sick which landed me in bed wrapped in blankets. My caring roommate, Noreen, attended to me bringing what food and drink I could handle. She even offered to drive me home if I wanted to go. I chose to remain at the conference in hopes the bug would pass quickly. Deferring her own needs and health, she compassionately cared for me. Thankfully, I recovered and was able to enjoy the remainder of the conference.

When I regained strength, I marched into the conference with my head held high expecting God to disclose His vision and great truths. My desire is to carry on with His mission of writing through me. Regardless of anything and everything going on in my life, I just needed to be at the conference. I needed to let it all go and be present here and now.

Maybe you or a loved one has or is experiencing the flu or COVID-19. Your body is worn out, dragged down, and tired all over. Try and take this time to rest and relax your physical and emotional muscles. Use this time to reflect on your blessings.

“If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is,” unknown

  • In your spare time, what do you immediately turn to first … your computer, social media blitzes, news on the television, your Bible, devotional, etc.?
  • When did you last spend time engaged in a productive, positive activity? What did you do?

Prayer of Encouragement: 

Dear God, thank you for putting guardian angels in my life to care for me. I know You are in control of my life even though the entire world seems to be spinning out of control. Help me put aside issues which might cause me to forget You and concentrate on what You’ve prepared for me. I willingly accept the path You’ve charted in my life. Whatever the outcome, I choose to praise You. Amen.

** excerpt taken from Life is: Good, Fragile, Precious—Loving yourself so you can love others book; Day #20.  

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” —Luke 12:22–26. 

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How Well Are You Taking Care of YOU?

Are you taking care of you? Really taking care of you? Looks like this COVID-19 virus plans to hang around for a while longer. Now more than ever is a good time to begin to care for your own mind, body, and soul. Because if you don’t take care of you, no one else will. And that leaves no one to take care of your loved ones. No time like the present to begin.

As a young mom, I remember the first time I heard an airplane stewardess explain the proper use of an oxygen mask. Since I’d never flown before, I listened intently wanting to be sure I knew exactly what to do in the event of a plane crash. She instructed us to first place the mask over our own face and mouth prior to helping a child or an elderly person. After a mask was securely fastened to our own face, then we should place the mask over the child’s face. Put my own mask on first? Did I hear her correctly? Isn’t that selfish not placing my child’s wellbeing into consideration first?

As I pondered the instructions, it dawned on me that if I did not take proper care of attending to my own oxygen needs, I would not be alive to help a dependent child or elderly person in an adjacent seat. The same guidelines apply here today. By attending to my basic needs, I’ll be available to help others in need. So it is with life.

I see the correlation between taking care of my body, mind, and soul. When I do this, I’m able to be a part of witnessing and enjoying my children, grandchildren, and family grow older and prosper. It makes sense to take care of our bodies in order to be alive, fit, and available for others. If you do not take care of you, then who will? Taking care of you is not a selfish endeavor, but a wise and necessary one.

Jewish commentator, Rabbi Hirsch, interprets Psalm 23:1 this way: “The Lord is my shepherd therefore I suffer no want. I do not miss what I do not have. I do not feel its lack, since it is God, my shepherd, who had seen fit to withhold it from me. He shows me His love by denying me that which I desire, but which if I was to have, it would cause me harm.”

*In what ways do you feel you’re taking care of you during these uncertain, trying times? Maybe taking a walk outside observing fall colors or even a trip to a special store? What refuels your emotional/spiritual tank?

*Can you think of one or two ways that you can begin to take care of you better?

** excerpt taken from Life is: Good, Fragile, Precious—Loving yourself so you can love others book; Day #5.

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Don’t Give Up

Needing some me-time, I traveled to my sanctuary place near the water and pen these words:

I go to my Sanctuary
Quiet reigns
Except for quacking geese
Nearby culinary smells of
Freshly baked bread
American flag flutters over the boat stern
A solitary sailboat with jib hoisted
Moves slowly across the lake
Peace prevails without
From within, my spirit begins to calm

There are no guarantees for a happy or healthy life. Even or especially in the middle of this all-encompassing COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a verse that’s meaningful to me. I hope it is for you too.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged – Deuteronomy 31:8.

He tells us not to be afraid or discouraged. I have to admit that I’ve been both throughout most of this past year. Even today I wrestle with fear, anxiety, and doubt. I feel jittery, tense, wanting to be someplace else. If I can keep the above words in the forefront of my mind, they’ll give me calm assurance. Confidence. Trust in the One who’s got this whole mess under control. He knows the beginning from the end.

He will not abandon me or you in the middle of a crisis or afterwards. Just knowing He is there beside me each step of the way causes my mind and heart to feel at peace.

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn,” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

*When’s the last time you felt unable to focus because of anxiety and worry? What’s it like for you?

*What are you fearful or discouraged about right now? How can you get past those negative thoughts?

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The Path

Bricks and sinkholes line the pathway

A crossroad comes into view

He takes my hand and leads the way

“My child, we can do this!”

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Rush

5-Minute Friday

the word’s: RUSH. Go …

RUSH here. Rush there. RUSH everywhere. Never felt more aware of the term RUSH than during this month of the year. December should conjure up scenes of happiness, joy, peace, but it really doesn’t at least not for me. I need to work on this. God and I need to work on this together. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My life coach, Darlene, suggests: Simplify Christmas. Simplify Life. I try to cram too much in too small of a space. Results: sorrow, unrest, grief, regrets, and even anger. I’m guessing you feel the same way too. This is no way to live a life. Particularly in this season of love, grace and mercy. A season that our Heavenly Father chose to send His only son to come to earth, be born in a lowly manager, live and serve among humankind, die a horrible death on a cross for you & me. This month of all months should be a grateful, kind, and looked forward to (not dreaded) event of the entire year!

Lord, guide me/us to what needs to be done, what can wait/be deleted, and what is the best for my life, my reader’s, and their loved ones lives too.

We love you, Lord Jesus.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up.  Join me and others as we reflect on, and write about one word each week for only 5 minutes.

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Unknown

5-Minute Friday

UNKNOWN

Sometimes it’s the unknown that is our undoing. Not knowing something can be scarier than knowing the truth about something scary. I’d much rather know I have a certain diagnosis than wondering, guessing, and stressing about a problem that might or might not occur.

We usually remember the past. Where my feet are planted right now is the present. But the future—well, that falls into the unknown. The unknown can be frightening. On the flip side, knowing Who holds my future is comforting. He knows. He cares. He’s taking care of all things even though we, His creation, aren’t in on the decision making. Which is probably a good thing. I’m pretty sure if I were in charge, I’d mess up a whole bunch.

This is where the words Trust and Obey fit in. If I trust the Almighty with my future, then I need spend less time worrying about the future. I’ll trust that He’s in control. I need to follow Him; I’ll obey and do my part. One of my jobs is to tell others about what He’s done for me. To give others hope that He’ll sort out all the good, bad, and the ugly. Over and over again, God comes through. He’s answered prayer when I’ve asked, and when I didn’t ask or realize I was in danger.

  • What about you?
  • What things do you worry about?
  • Is there someone you can talk to about these worries?

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7)

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up.  Join me and others as we reflect on, and write about one word each week for only 5 minutes.

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Sheep are Valuable

Round #3 … the Resume of a Sheep taken from Psalm 23. First, we talked about sheep being vulnerable. Our second session: sheep go astray.

This time let’s move to Sheep are Valuable!        

Being a curious person, I looked up the definition for the word valuable: having considerable worth, bringing a high price, having qualities worthy of respect, admiration or esteem.

Wow! Our Heavenly Father is speaking about me and about you! You are precious, treasured, cherished and appreciated, my dear sheep-friend.

The next time someone flings you a sarcastic remark or circumstances throw you for a loop—remember that He deems you dear. He respects you beyond all measure.

When you have a few minutes, ponder Psalm 139.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful

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Thinking about my Good Shepherd part 2

Hi folks!

Looking into the Resume of a Sheep taken from Psalm 23.The first attribute of a sheep we covered last time: Sheep are Vulnerable. I’m back again for round #2.     

  • Sheep go Astray. How often have I gone astray? Too many times to count. How about you? I can honestly say that my Shepherd’s always steered me back on course again. Sad to admit this, but sometimes I took the long way around to come back into the shepherd fold.

Read Deuteronomy 30:3-10. The verse speaks of restoration and our Shepherd having compassion on me/you. His desire is to gather you up and bring you home. His arms are open wide. Will you go to Him?

 

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Thinking about sheep and my Good Shepherd

Ottumwa Iowa field

I just joined a small group from our church. We’re studying Psalm 23. I’ve recited those words to Psalm 23 on numerous occasions. Most of you have probably heard it spoken at funerals, memorial services, or Sunday sermons.

Just when you think you know it all, heard it all—BAM! Something significant slaps you between the eyeballs. That’s what happened to me this week.

We’re studying the Resume of a Sheep. Strange title for our work assignment page, but bears spending time on. There are four attributes of a sheep listed. I’ll cover the first one today and more the next time we meet.

  • Sheep are Vulnerable. I had to look that word up to be sure I understood the meaning of vulnerable. Here’s what my dictionary said: accessible, defenseless, exposed, unsafe, weak, sitting duck. Capable/susceptible to being wounded or hurt. Open to assault. Boy, is that true. Right now, I feel like a sitting duck and unsafe in a certain relationship. I don’t like this feeling. I want to get beyond it. I’m just not sure which path to take at this moment in time.

Ever feel this way? Like you are stuck, exposed and not able to wriggle your way past a certain situation? You are not alone!

Here’s a verse I’d like you to consider. Maybe even post it where you can ponder, recite, and believe the Truth. Consider reaching out to a trusted friend to help you through. There is Hope—never forget this no matter how deep or dark your journey.

But as for me, I will always have hope, I will praise you more and more.” (Psalm 71:14)

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