In these troubling times when it seems like all we hear about is bad news, or negative political messages, or political candidates tearing each other down, I take comfort in our Lord’s words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” God is in control, we just have to draw near to Him, trust in Him and rely upon Him and not the things of this world. We really must look up rather than let the world get us down.
” Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I am a day late with my musing as I ponder the scripture passage that reminds us to pray incessantly. Many wonder how we can possibly accomplish such a feat and I look around me at a nearby wild-fire raging, winds gusting, a hurricane threatening much of the south- eastern United States, and in the meantime is ravaging islands and poor natives, and the negative politics on our television screens. How do we not pray constantly? We pray in thanksgiving for people’s safety or being pulled from harm’s way and pray for our first responders in the same breath. We pray for the protection of our loved ones in harm’s way of a storm they can’t escape. I can see how easy it is to pray constantly no matter how busy I may be, even writing a late musing!
In the area of Colorado from where I write we have a very high suicide rate. Some people think it is because of our five military bases and we see a high rate of suicide among military members. But the scariest thing is the high rate of teen suicides.
Just last week we all started our day in shock and deep sorrow as the body of a student was discovered at a local school, canceling school for the day. How could our youth find life so hopeless that it is no longer worth living? Where were the signs that help was needed? Didn’t someone notice this young person’s cry for help by actions or speech or withdrawing from everyone or everything? Or is everyone too busy with social media and doing their own thing, afraid to get involved or take notice? To be attentive and to care?
The community response was to set up a meeting at a local high school for parents and anyone else concerned about suicide, particularly teen suicide so that we don’t have to lose yet one more young person to hopelessness. Professionals and counselors came together to help people to recognize the signs to intervene and prevent another suicide. Unfortunately it looked as though attendance was pretty sparse. Which leaves me wondering how concerned are we as a society?
With our upcoming elections, on the ballot is Proposition 106 which deals with physician assisted suicide, termed as compassionate choices, creating a really slippery slope for us because others will determine whether we should live or die based on quality of life or lack there of, for fear of letting someone suffer or become a burden. How does that help our youth who may see life as hopeless when the adults around them are choosing to put people down like they do a suffering cat or dog? We want to prevent the tragedy of another teen finding life not worth living, and yet we want to vote for the right to determine who should live and who should die. How do we explain that to our youth them as caring and loving parents?
“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.