“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any. ” Sir John Vanbrugh
I ran across this quote recently and sadly agree with it. As a grandmother I really can’t help but notice the lack of manners, courtesy or kindness displayed by many children today. It isn’t entirely their fault, but the fault of how busy parents are today to care, or else they are too involved with social media and not paying any attention to what examples they are setting at home, or worse yet, lack of example they may be setting. It is tough for our children to learn what isn’t modeled for them. They learn more by what they see than by what they hear. For the parents afraid to nag children, there is a difference between nagging and teaching. Teaching a child is always welcome where as nagging is not. Children are pretty open to learning to be a good example when we explain to them as we go. Our children are our greatest investment and we only get once chance to invest our time and love in them. Good manners, courtesy and kindness can change our world.
This weekend we all remembered the day of the terrible attacks on the trade towers in New York City, the plane brought down in Pennsylvania and the one that attacked our pentagon, forever changing American life as we knew it. As we remembered, we prayed for world peace, which can only come when it starts with us individually, in our families and in our communities. That peace can only come from turning our hearts back to God, one heart at a time.
Two quotes come to mind concerning peace, from two great people now gone from our midst. However their lives have left footprints on my heart with words to live by.
First, from Mother Teresa:
“The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. the fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.”
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”
Another saint, another one on our side and just in time. We face a very challenging and rather depressing election this year, and we sure need all of the help we can get. Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa were always my favorite hero and heroine. Now we celebrate their sainthood with Mother Teresa joining the ranks among our communion of saints with her recent canonization. They are both among my favorite saints and I will surely be calling upon their intercession as I make important decisions in the coming elections, but also in my prayers for our current governing bodies to make decisions in favor of life and not pro-death. I firmly believe that we have two very powerful saints among us now as well as some other local saints not yet canonized to help us in our efforts to support life. They are all in Heaven now, able to assist us in ways they couldn’t while living here on Earth. Let’s seek their intercession as we face our challenges ahead until we are blessed to join them face to face when we pass on to our Heavenly home.
With all of the social media, television and computers, cell phones at our finger tips, does anyone ever wonder how we could live even one day totally unwired? How can it be freeing and life-giving? How do we survive without Facebook, or Twitter, Snap Chat or computer games and email? We can choose to unwire ourselves for a day or so or at best to use a cell phone or computer when we need to rather than live life at its mercy and recharge our life batteries.
We looked forward to a mountain escape for three days, renting a small cabin surrounded by nature. The only sounds were of the wind blowing, rain falling, thunder clapping and people talking as they walked past and the occasional car passing by. For the most part it was quiet and peaceful. It was absolutely beautiful and restful. We spent our time talking and listening to each other, no TV competing for our attention. No land line ringing with robotic calls and political messages to frustrate us. No computers stealing our time. Instead it was time to walk, hike, to shop at leisure, to drive through a beautiful national park and enjoy watching wildlife. It was a complete change of scenery and routine, giving us time to pray, and to be still. We were given time to photograph an eagle and elk or deer, walk around a lake, watch afternoon thunderstorms roll in. It was time to be emptied of worries, burdens and concerns about things we can do nothing about. Something we find can only be done when we choose to unwire and unwind. What joy and what peace we find!
Ever feel like our prayer lives just move in circles? There are the good times, the bad, the challenging moments and the joyful times when our prayers answered. Today I was given a word picture I will always hold on to, especially in the tough times, and lately there are many of those filling my days. It is so easy to feel like God is near us in the good times, when we feel His presence, leaving no doubt in our minds that He is always there. All seems right with Him and with our world. But in the tough times it feels as though God is so far away, not hearing us. We wonder where He is in those moments.
This word picture is envisioning the threads of a screw as symbolizing our prayer lives as if they are going in circles through the good and bad times. The screw is us. During those times when we feel as though God is so distant, that is the time we need to picture His hand tightening the screw a thread deeper into the wood of Jesus’ cross, bringing us that much closer to Himself.
image from: https://openclipart.org/image/800px/svg_to_png/238033/screw.png
As I was hanging my laundry to line dry this glorious summer morning I thought about days of old when my grandmother, my mother, and even my aunts had to hang out the wash. It is a glorious summer morning today with the temperature being just right and a gentle breeze blowing. I don’t have to hang out my wash but am choosing to.
I thought of the many years when I hung cloth diapers on the line to dry in the sunshine which was healthier that machine drying them. Or else hanging out my bed sheets to line dry, savoring the fresh smell of the out doors as I folded and put them away.
I listened to one of my daughter-in-laws lamenting the fact that her dryer had broken and later learning that it is an electrical issue which would take time and be more expensive to fix. She had to go to the Laundromat to take care of their family’s laundry.
We have all suffered through times when we have had to lug our piles of laundry to the Laundromat because of the washer breaking down or else after moving to a new place without a washer and dryer. It can be a royal pain and take a lot of time from our already busy days. But in the event that the clothes dryer fails, line drying does help and maybe be a way to teach our children what it used to be like before the modern convenience of the clothes dryer we often take for granted. Teaching them how to help with hanging the wash, then taking it down when it is dry, and bringing it in to fold and put away can be a valuable lesson of appreciation for what we have today. But then again, they just might like to smell the freshness in their clothes, reminding them of summer days. Just think of what it can do for the electric bill too, teaching energy conservation while learning to use their pent-up energy in a positive way.
I don’t think I will ever look at another flower vase or lone plate I have remaining from a set as useless ever again after seeing this pretty bird feeder created from vintage lone drinking glasses, flower vases and plates, topped with a pretty ceramic angel.
This beautiful bird feeder will sit in the center of my wild flower garden and I can’t wait to see it back-lit by the sun as it rises every morning.
Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. The creator’s eyes. Talent bestowed upon an artist by our loving Creator adding still more beauty to His creation of flowers.
I often pass by a church as I run my errands or go to the post office. Outside of this church is a sign where a different saying is put up each week, hoping that those who read it are touched at the heart. For someone who doesn’t attend a church, it may just be the one saying that brings them in on Sunday.
Some of the sayings bring a chuckle. Others are true food for thought. This week’s saying is “Exposure to the Son may prevent burning.” What a great thought, especially for those tempted to miss attending church on summer weekends to have fun instead, believing they don’t have time or are too tired and need to sleep in.
Today we are all concerned about taking better care of our bodies and our skin. Summer time has us making sure we find the right SPF levels in our sunscreen to suit our outdoor activities, being particularly concerned with how water-proof it is for fun in the sun and pool, lakes or sea-side, forgetting that our souls are so much more important to protect. Jesus awaits us, invites us in out of the heat, to cool down, warm our hearts and give us His peace and His joy to share with others we meet. Inviting them to come to Him and not risk burning eternally by choosing to seek fun in the sun first and all of the other things we deem more important.
I can’t help but wonder if we might be able to change our world by applying four simple words to our lives. These four words are principles we can live by. They work in my life and I have them on bath accessories as daily reminders while I get ready to meet each new day. They are: Believe, Trust, Praise and Serve.
If we all believe in the one true God, our Heavenly Father, Creator and lover of our souls. If we all learned to trust Him and His Word, following His Word, applying them to our everyday, knowing He is in control. Praise Him for our many blessings and all that he brings us through each day, we would be more loving and giving. If we only would think of our many blessings and in thankfulness think of others rather than ourselves, we would be willing to serve one another in love, starting at home and reaching out beyond ourselves.
We would have less violence because anger would be diffused by acts of kindness. We would be busy with lives of serving others rather than ourselves, leaving no room in our hearts for prejudice, hatred and violence.
In light of the recent senseless violence it is good to be reminded that for us to love one another as we are called to do, we must first love God with all of our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbor as ourselves. We cannot love one another without God as the center of our lives. We can only love because He has loved us first. We must love Him first and above all and then loving each other is much easier to do.
All lives matter. All life is created by God and all that He has created is good when we keep Him first and foremost in our lives.