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.
On this July 4th holiday, as we celebrate our country’s birthday with parades and picnics, we should all pray for the protection of our religious liberty, freedom of religion and not freedom from religion. Our great nation was founded on the great faiths of our forebears and has been greatly blessed in the past because of their faith. Unfortunately today, there are many trying to change all of that and seeking freedom from religion. The times we are living in now are quite challenging and dangerous, calling each of us to our knees to pray for one another.
www.public-domain-image.com (public domain image)
I find it very difficult to say good-bye to friends or family as they leave us, to relocate to another state. Recently I have had to bid farewell to four dear friends and yet another will move soon to take on a teaching job in another state. It is pretty common for moves to happen during the summer months, being easier to travel and settle into a new life in a new town before the children return to school, or at the start of a company’s new fiscal year. It still doesn’t make it any easier to tell someone good-bye and wish them all the best in their new endeavor because we will miss them dearly. Sometimes we wish we could follow along, not letting the miles or time separate us.
But, one thing is true, having been said by a close friend of mine when she was widowed recently. Life is a series of moments of learning to let go, of preparing to say good-bye. Without these moments, we wouldn’t want to leave this life behind and pass onto our heavenly home. We would want to stick around here forever, but this isn’t our final home. Our loving Father in Heaven gives us a lot of practice with bidding farewell to those who have left their footprints on our hearts, having loved us and in turn let themselves be loved by us.
Remember the lazy, hazy days of summer in our youth? We couldn’t wait for that final school bell to ring and race out of the school for summer vacation. It felt like the count down to the end of school was really slow. We longed for the days of no homework, sleeping later and having fun with our friends and family in the long, lazy, hazy days of summer.
But as summer wore on we found ourselves getting a bit bored, a bit tired of the less structured time. We would run out of things to do and dared we complain about it to our parents, they would come up with things for us to do, to keep us busy, like some unwanted chore. We would rather lie on the grass staring up at the sky and watching the clouds float past than get extra chores to do. So we learned not to complain.
Summers are sure different from the way we spent them as children. Our grandchildren would rather play computer or video games. They aren’t as creative with their time. But we host craft days with our grandchildren, where we have them choose arts and crafts they would like to learn to do, whether it is quilling, sewing, jewelry making or wood burning, or scroll saw crafting, we make a day of it. But, we also take time for blowing bubbles, drawing with sidewalk chalk and eating ice cream cones or popsicles together.
It tickles me to hear my grandson tell me that he can’t wait to go camping with his family and that when they do, it is time to enjoy the great outdoors, not video games and gadgets but creative things they can do and play outside and enjoy nature. I think my son gets it since he works with computers all day long, every day. Summer is time for fun outdoors with games, water balloons, bubbles and camping.
I am thankful for keeping the Lord’s Day holy as best we can. It has always been my family’s tradition of keeping Sunday special and set apart from how we spend the rest of the week. My father always took seriously that during six days of the week he would labor and toil to provide for our family. But on Sunday we went to church together as a family or on Saturday night, attending the vigil mass so that we could rest on Sunday or recreate, often going to a lake or beach during the summer, skating and tobogganing in winter, or else visiting our grandmother, or other relatives. Worship and family were the focus of how we spent the Lord’s Day, our Sabbath making our return to school and work on Monday much more bearable. We have passed that tradition on to our children and for the most part, they seem to live it out as well.
In today’s frantic paced world, it seems as though there aren’t many people observing a Sabbath rest. Sunday is treated like any other day of the week. We pass by so many packed parking lots outside shopping centers on Sunday like it is the biggest shopping day of the week. Some people do their laundry, and housework, lawn mowing and shopping on Sunday like there isn’t anything special about it. Just another work day, or catch up day from their busy weekday schedules. Isn’t it a wonder so many of us feel stressed out and exhausted? Even our Lord took a day to rest from creating the earth and all that fills it, including us. Maybe we need to exercise His wisdom and savor a Sabbath rest. We would face Monday and starting our work week all over again, rested and renewed.