Friday, March 27, 2015

The Sky is Dark and Full of Clouds



The sky is dark and full of clouds dropping rain upon the earth.
There is something peaceful about the sound of steady rainfall.
Even though sunshine is missing, the earth is being nourished.
I praise God that He knows the need and sends it in His timing.

At this mid-afternoon hour it's easy to get discouraged.
Energy is waning; patience wearing thin; I lose focus.
My determination, strong in the morning, begins to drop.
My Father sees my every need and provides as He sees fit.


Remind me how you love me, Lord, giving strength to do my work.
Show me in my struggles, joy is even then within my grasp.
Remind me how I can empathize with those You bring my way.
Show me how my friendly smile may bring cheer to one in passing.


The sky is dark and full of clouds dropping rain upon the earth.
There is something peaceful about the sound of steady rainfall.
Even though the sunshine is missing, I thank You, Lord, for Your light.
Give me grace to finish my day in peace and with thanksgiving.

(There was rain most of today and then this evening just before sunset the sun came out again!)
This prayer/poem was inspired by prompts for the mid-afternoon hour of None (pronounced "known") from Jamie Bagley's e-course on prayer.

I'm linking up with Lisha Epperson and the #GiveMeGrace community. I'm also linking up with Stacey Thureen and #FindStability

Thursday, March 26, 2015

When Mid-Afternoon is Near




When mid-afternoon is near,
Are you filled with cheer?
Or is worry creeping in
filling you with fear?

Lunch seems hours in the past.
Time is moving fast.
Still so much left to be done
Will the daylight last?

Cannot take a break you say.
Work must last all day.
I say that you need a pause
taking time to pray.

Thank God for the morning sun,
and for things you've done
in the first part of the day.
Now take time for fun.

Thank God for His love for you
and your fam'ly, too.
Ask for strength to finish well
all you need to do.

Back to work when you're refreshed
Knowing you are blessed.
With joy prepare your dinner
Then take time to rest.


(This poem was prompted by a lesson in Jamie Bagley's e-course.)





I wrote this poem/prayer not only to myself but to others, especially those of you who are mothers with young children. 

I'm not too old to remember mid-afternoon to be a time when kids were fussy and I was feeling tired, wondering how I would have enough strength to make supper and finish out the day. 

If only I had thought to just stop, take a few minutes to pause, pray, do something fun, relax, I'm sure it would have been easier to get through the rest of the day. 

I hope this encourages you today to take time to pause in your busy schedule even if you think there isn't time. 

Sometimes it only takes a few minutes to make a big difference in how the rest of your day proceeds.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Noonday Prayer


(photo taken in my front yard)

At this midday hour may I pause to remember what is important.
Keep my focus on the One who loves me and gives me strength.
Lord, I am weak of will. I let distractions pull me away from my purpose.
May I find grace in this hour to keep my eyes on You and stay the course.

May I remember that my body also needs attention in order to function well.
Give me wisdom to prioritize plans and balance times for work, exercise, rest.
May I take time to prepare food that nurtures, sustains and is appealing .
May I have strength to do all these things well.

May I be in prayer for each family member in my home and those who live elsewhere.
May I be open to the needs of people around me as I interact in person and online.
Give me patience, love and a tender heart to relate well even when I feel agitated.
May I cultivate magnanimity of hospitality and generosity toward everyone I meet.

May my life be a demonstration of the power of Your love.
May I be an instrument of peace beginning in my own home.
May this peace and love extend to my neighbors and beyond.
May the whole world come to know the peace that only You can give.

Father, nothing comes close to the extent of Your love for me.
May I bow in reverence and lift my voice in praise to You.
Lord, I am weak of will. I let distractions pull me away from you.
May I find grace in this hour to keep my eyes on You and stay the course.


(This was taken while standing on my front porch)


This is another prayer written in response to prompts in Jamie Bagley's e-course on prayer.  I am linking up with Kelly Balarie and Friends and the #RaRaLinkup which today is at Angela Parlin's blog.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Mid-Morning Prayer




At this mid-morning hour when I am pulled in many directions, give me grace to stop and breathe, to draw strength as I breathe in, letting the tensions go as I breathe out.

Give me wisdom to take one thing at a time in order of priority, to express my gratitude for the ability to do my tasks, then proceed to carry them out intentionally.

May I be inspired to do my best in all my undertakings this day, doing all for Your glory, as even the most menial jobs have purpose and can be done with a grateful heart.

May I remember that I am loved and cherished as a beloved daughter of the King, and may I be filled with hope and love to share with those around me.

So many times I fail using angry sounding words that can hurt and cause an atmosphere of tension or sadness. Forgive me. May I be gracious and willing to apologize.




May you fill me anew with Your lovingkindness so that it overflows into all my thoughts and actions and interactions with others.

Thank you for giving me Your Word to teach me how to live, Your Spirit to give me strength and grace, Your love to hold me close.

Thank you for the gifts and abilities you have given me - writing, speaking, creating art, taking photographs. May I have courage to use them to bring hope and encouragement to others, pointing them to You.

May I be a good listener, not trying to fix things, but to empathize with those you bring my way, and wisdom to know when to speak and when to be quiet.

May I praise you with my whole body, soul and spirit showing my gratitude for Your blessings which include fresh air to breathe, food to eat and shelter for me and my family.

Thank You for the grace and mercy you show to me every day in granting me life. This day and every day I want my life to encourage others pointing them to the only wise God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.





I am linking this up with Lisha Epperson and the inspiring #givemegrace community.


This is my second prayer written for the hour of Terce, which is mid-morning. Again, I am using prompts from Jamie Bagley's e-course, A Heart of Prayer: Book of Hours.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Being Real


(gaylwrightphotography)

When I think of the word real, I think of my friend Marvia, who sometimes hosts a linkup on Tuesdays which she calls Real Talk. She wants to be authentic and real and encourages us to do the same. This week the topic was about lies and truth and how we all lie, sometimes without even realizing it.

We tell people we are okay when we are not okay.

We greet people with “Hi, how are you?” and they answer “Fine, how are you?” and then we go on to other subjects. Has that happened to you? I know I have done it before.

What would happen if, when we greeted someone, we looked into their eyes as we asked how they are and showed them that we care and we really want to know how they truly are?

I am going to try harder to really listen for an answer when I greet people and also to answer truthfully when I am asked about how I am doing.

We need to be real with each other. I don't mean that we have to tell everyone our deepest, inmost secrets, but I do think we need to be honest.


(gaylwrightphotography)

I want to be real in my life online, offline, alone or with others. To be real means being vulnerable and it's easy to shy way from that, because things might get messy.

But sometimes it takes getting messy to get through to the beautiful.

We are created in God's image. That tells me that there is beauty in all of us. We may have made mistakes. We may be broken, but if we are believers in Jesus and have been made new, then there is beauty.

We can be real because being real shows that we are human. We all have problems whether large or small. Maybe by sharing our struggles, being authentic and real, we can actually help and encourage each other. 

And that is a beautiful thing.


(gaylwrightphotography)


This was originally written for Five Minute Friday and I'm updating to link with Kelly Balarie and the #RaRaLinkup.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Daily Prayer





Father, bless my work today. Give me grace to meet whatever comes my way.

May my writing bring glory to you, whether it be poetry, blog posts or online chats to encourage others.

As I prepare the meals, may I be mindful of the nutrition I am providing my family.
Help me to look at it as an art, not as drudgery.

Please bless the work I do in my garden, that we may have a bountiful harvest.

In the varied tasks of laundry, cleaning, removing clutter, give me wisdom as I choose what is done each day.

Bless my time with my son as we work on school. Give grace and wisdom to know how best to encourage and help with his work.


(photo credit Gayl Wright)


When interruptions come may I look at each as an opportunity to stop and be fully present to determine what is needed and to look for the good.

When it seems I am not accomplishing anything I had planned, help me to see what You are trying to teach me in each moment. Help me to remember that You, not I, are in control.

May I be humble, teachable, relaxed and fully trusting in You to enable me to respond rather than react to things that normally cause agitation.

Open my heart to recognize and receive the gifts that each day brings. May all my senses be attuned to what is happening around me so that I will see what You want me to see.

Help me to be thankful and full of gratitude for You and the life You have given me.


(photo credit Sara Harding)


This is another prayer written in response to a prompt in Jamie Bagley's e-course A Heart of Prayer: Book of Hours.

I'm linking up with Susan Mead's #DanceWithJesusFridayLinkup!  One way I find help in my daily life is to go to God in prayer. Visit Susan's linkup and read how others find help in their daily lives.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

You Are Not Alone




If your heart is heavy, storms raging around,
if you're lost, scared, or lonely, run straight to God, dear one.
His love for you is strong, e'en when you may not see.
His faithfulness is sure, like the rising of the sun.

Before starting the day, set your mind at ease.
All the busyness can wait while you now rest and breathe.
Spend time with your Father, listening to His voice.
Then look up and face the day with gratitude and joy.

No matter where you go, you are not alone.
Be present in each moment, for God is always there. 
His arms will lift you up, give strength throughout the storm, 
comforting with words of truth and loving friends who care.




This was written in response to a prompt in Jamie Bagley's e-course A Heart of Prayer: Book of Hours for the hour of Prime, which is around sunrise.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Light and Beauty, A Prayer of Thanksgiving




Thank you, Lord, for light and beauty
in loving family relationships, with joy and sadness, closeness and love.

Thank you, Lord, for beauty and light
in the ever changing sky and beautiful flowers, all pointing to You.

Thank you, Lord, for light and beauty
in growing friendships that strengthen my walk with You.

Thank you, Lord, for beauty and light
in art, music and poetry, evoking joy or sadness, revealing deep truths.

Thank you, Lord, for light and beauty,
for without them life would be dull, dark, colorless, shapeless.

Thank you, Lord, for beauty and light
which you have provided to bring nourishment for our very souls.

Thank you, Lord, for light and beauty
in the ability you give me to create with words, sounds, images.

When I look at your creation -stars, sun, moon, clouds, trees, flowers,
animals, rain, snow, blowing winds, I am filled with reverent awe.

With my whole being I want to praise and worship You, our majestic,
wonderful, loving, faithful Creator and Sustainer, Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

May I look to You this day for wisdom, grace, and strength,
with eyes wide open to see beauty and light wherever I am.





I hope you were encouraged as you read the prayer and looked at the beautiful flowers. May God give us all eyes to see beauty and light right where we are today.

For more encouragement check out Kelly Balarie and the #RaRaLinkup!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Early Morning Prayer



(just before sunrise)

In this early morning hour I need grace to prepare me for the day.

My desire at this time is for a heart that longs to please You.


I am Your child, Oh God, and I ask that you please grant these requests.

Because of your faithfulness, I can trust that You will answer.


You have told us in Your Word to ask and we will receive.

You take care of the birds and tell us we are of much more value than they.


I ask to be filled with an abundance of peace and joy.

I want to be a light to those around me pointing them to You.


Help me find joy and beauty throughout my day.

Help me to be strong and give encouragement to others.


Giver of good gifts, hear and heed my request for a heart to serve You.

May I have wisdom, discernment and the courage to follow through.


As the sun rises making the sky gradually brighter, may Your light grow in me.

As I am filled with Your light this day, may I brighten the day for others.


(sunrise in Gatlinburg)


This prayer was written as a response to some prompts in the e-course A Heart for Prayer: Book of Hours written and led by Jamie Bagley.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Daffodil and a Prayer

In the e-course I am taking from Jamie Bagley called A Heart for Prayer: Book of Hours, our second exercise for the hour called Vigils included using an image to inspire the prayer we would write. I chose this picture of a daffodil that I took a couple of days ago. I decided to write a haiku first and then my prayer.



Yellow, fresh and free
Beauty rising through dead grass
A daffodil blooms



Almighty God, the three in One
I come to you this evening
in praise and adoration
of all your mighty works.

This daffodil evokes in me
feelings of joy and brightness.
The winter is dark and grey,
but spring is coming soon.

I think back to one fall ev'ning
when with two happy grandkids
we planted each bulb with care
to wait for spring to come.

I thank you for your loving care
for me and all creation.
Give me patience as I wait,
for spring is coming soon.

May your grace and peace surround me
when I close my eyes this night,
Resting, hoping, dreaming, as
I wait for spring to come.


I'm linking up with the lovely Lisha Epperson and #GiveMeGrace.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Boundaries






When I look up at the sky, it almost looks like there are no boundaries there, but I know there are. If there were no boundaries everything in space would be chaotic, flying about everywhere.

God has put boundaries in place for a purpose.

Just as there are boundaries for the physical world there are boundaries for people. If everyone could do anything they wanted whenever they wanted without regard for fellow human beings, there would certainly be chaos all the time.

Our choices do not just affect our own lives.

That is not to say we do not have choices or freedom to do things we want to do. God has given us a lot of freedom in making choices. We need to be aware of how our choices affect others and act wisely.

There are other kinds of boundaries, those that we set up around us.

Some of these boundaries are good. We need to be aware when we need rest and not make too many plans. We need boundaries that tell us when someone or something is unsafe. We set boundaries so that we will be able to care for ourselves, to make sure we do our part to be healthy people.




What do we do when someone crosses those boundaries and we are unsafe?

I really don't have concrete answers to that question. In theory, we are able to recognize the signs when people or things are unsafe, but that is not always possible. I think of women or children who are kidnapped, and murdered or sold for prostitution. There are also those who are abused in their own homes by people they should be able to trust. I know there are people and organizations set up to help, but I know that more awareness and help is needed.

Because of this we might put up boundaries that go too far.

We build walls to try to fortify ourselves, but sometimes we build them so high that no one can get in, not even people who want to help. We push things down deep inside us and try to make everyone think we are fine. These kinds of walls may even be harmful and sometimes lead us down the road of depression.

It can be hard to find a balance between boundaries that are helpful and those that harm.

Going to God in prayer is one way I would deal with this tension of finding the right balance and finding answers to the hard questions. I know that He is greater than any of the problems I will face.


My #OneWord365 is intentional. I need to be intentional about setting boundaries for myself which include setting aside times for communing with God in prayer. If I am too busy to spend time in prayer and scripture reading, then I am too busy.

I find that I am much more relaxed and focused and actually accomplish more when I set aside time for prayer.

My days can quickly fill up with many things from reading to chores to homeschooling to time spent on social media. That last one can be like a vacuum cleaner sucking up all my time. I get so busy reading blogs, facebook posts, and keeping up with twitter that I often neglect other things or stay up too late at night. Sometimes there is information overload. It can be overwhelming as the days fill up and seem to fly by because of busyness.



I need to be intentional about setting boundaries for myself especially in the use of social media.

It takes discipline to order our lives so that we have time for the important things; things like spending time with God, spending time with other people, taking time out to enjoy little things, and being grateful for the life God has given to us. It may not always look like we think it should, but God is faithful and He will give wisdom and enable us to set the boundaries that are best for us.

Sometimes setting boundaries actually gives us more freedom.

What about you? What do you think?

For Marvia Davidson's #RealTalkTuesday we are talking about boundaries, and I'm also linking up with Susan Mead's #DanceWithJesus


Friday, March 6, 2015

Gather: A Poem

The Five Minute Friday word for today is gather.




GO:

Come on everyone
gather 'round
where love and
hope abound

Hear the words
I have to say
To build you up
and make your day

You are loved
more than you know
Feel the sunshine
Bask in its glow.



Guess it took about seven minutes. I just wrote what popped into my head and decided to share it without worrying about whether it was good enough or not. Isn't that what Five Minute Friday is about? (Insert smile here)

I did use RhymeZone to find a word to rhyme with know in the last stanza.

Join us at Kate Motaung's blog for more Five Minute Friday posts!


#FiveMinuteFriday

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Resonance and Dissonance

Today, from two different groups I'm in, came these two words – resonance and dissonance. Many thoughts began swirling in my brain and I decided to start writing them down. What came from all those thoughts is this blog post.

I want to talk about resonance and dissonance.

Do you find that your life is a mixture of the two? We like it when something or someone resonates with us, but then comes that dissonance and we feel all out of sorts. We wonder if things will ever harmonize again when we are hit with one thing after another.

I wonder, though, if both are something we need in our lives and actually work together to bring us into a deeper relationship with God and with others.

Sometimes the dissonance may drive us away from all that we have been fighting for or against. Maybe we are glad for the dissonance, because it gives us an excuse to just say goodbye to those who oppose us and run in the opposite direction trying to do everything on our own. We soon find that to be a lonely road.

Other times when dissonance comes we try to run away from it and hide, wanting to keep things static, unchanging. The problem is, though, that things do change and we cannot keep hiding.

Sooner or later we will be found.

Then we have to face what comes. We can cringe and feel sorry for ourselves or we can meet it head-on looking for ways to get through it.

I mentioned earlier that we all like resonance, but I'm not sure that is always true.

Sometimes when things resonate deeply we don't know how to respond. We can actually be afraid of something touching us in our inmost being, afraid of what we might be asked to do. Even when we know it is right, there is a kind of fear that goes with it.

Just like when the dissonance comes and we want to run and hide, we often do the same thing with resonance. Sometimes I'm close to being in a deeper relationship with someone, but for some reason I hold back, and maybe run the other way.

I see God working and I'm almost afraid of going deeper.

Do you ever feel like that?



It seems that both resonance and dissonance can cause fear sometimes in our lives, and both can show us our need for someone to walk with us and give us strength to face what lies ahead.

What if we were able to meet with courage our fears, both in dissonance and in resonance in our lives?

I believe we can. If we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have unlimited access to God. He is ready and waiting to give us grace and wisdom to handle anything that comes our way – good and bad.

He works in and through us, but we have to be willing vessels to be used ultimately for His glory.

We need to spend time with Him daily through prayer and contemplation and reading of His word, letting it soak into the core of ourselves. I'm not saying that we have to set aside long periods of time each day. Most of us don't have the luxury of that much time.

Often we have to just send up a quick distress call when we find ourselves overwhelmed. We can also say a quick prayer of gratitude. Even though we are busy, we have an open line to God any time of the day or night, because He never sleeps and is faithful.

Here's a quick prayer I wrote to help me in times when I feel overwhelmed.




By God's grace we can move ahead with courage through all our fears, whether they come when things resonate deeply or when there is dissonance in our lives or if we experience both at the same time.





#RealTalkTuesday #DanceWithJesus #GiveMeGrace