Polaris – Always a Constant

Polaris is more commonly known as the North Star.  It remains almost motionless over time as other stars in the sky seem to rotate around it.  The star is very helpful because it has been used as navigation for ships and travelers.  Find Polaris and you can navigate your way.  It is a constant.  I have never been successful at finding other constellations but I can always find the big dipper and this bright star.

In the same way, Jesus remains constant in our lives.  Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him.”  He has always been there and always will be there.  Malachi 3:6 says, “I am the Lord, and I do not change.”

Last summer, we were in New Mexico and had the opportunity to camp out on a sailboat for a few days.  Every night we would lay on the boat deck and look up at the numerous stars.  We would watch for shooting stars and sometimes see a satellite that was flashing by.  It was a peaceful time because it reminded me that God knows every single star in the sky just like He knows us and yet, He still provides us with the constant, unchanging star to guide our way.

Even in the midst of life struggles and times when you don’t know if you can deal with the changes that are happening, we can be assured that God doesn’t change in His compassion for us.  He is always there, always constant — just like that star in the sky.  Look up, see the bright star shining down on you.

Father’s Day – A New Look

Father’s Day used to be a day when I honored and remembered my father.  Then he passed away the day after Father’s Day in 2001 and it became a difficult holiday.  Two years later, I was able to celebrate my husband being a father and the years of creating fun gifts for him from our daughter began.  Since he passed away in 2015, it now is a holiday that just floats and I don’t know what to do with it.  I still honor both in my memories and am thankful for the time I had with them.  There are lots of other men that I know that show great examples of what it means to be a father and a man of God.  Some of those I secretly adopt in my heart as a father figure and grandfather figure for my daughter.  They may or may not know it, but that’s okay.

I ran across this poem from Maya Angelou, a woman of great writing and wisdom.  It reminded me of those in my life who have passed on.  They were a great tree, rooted in faith.  Although their life is no longer growing with us, they have still made the impact in people’s lives and leave roots for us all to continue growing.  As you read the poem, think about someone in your life who was that “great tree” and live your life in such a way that you can be that for someone else.

When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.  Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid,
promised walks never taken.

Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us.
Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away.
We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold caves.

And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly.  Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.  They existed. We can be.  Be and be better.  For they existed.

Learn and Do the Impossible

This Spring we have had at least three nests in areas of our front yard.  Two were in trees and one is on the eaves of the garage.  The nest pictured was out of my visual realm because I am not one with super long legs.  Okay, I am short.  I used the video on my phone and lifted it above the nest to observe the changes that were taking place each week as the mama bird flew to get food.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this little birdie, mouth wide open, just waiting for some food.  The old cliche “Early bird gets the worm” rings true as his siblings are still in the egg.

I would like to think that I am like this little bird in the way that I approach learning.  I love to learn!  I love to take in anything that I can to keep my mind sharp and also fill it with new things.  Recently, I started to learn spanish on a popular phone app.  It may not be formal learning but I am learning basic Spanish words, phrases and sentences.  Yo como manzanas ~ I eat apples.  While I may never actually use it, it is still fun to learn.

In the same way that I love to learn new things, I also love to share with others in the way that might help someone be a better person.  We all have a new day in front of us, full of possibility — with God, maybe an impossibility too.  In Luke 1:37, it says, “Nothing is impossible with God.”  It is always possible to learn something new, no matter what our age.  We also need to share our knowledge with others.  We need to be like this little bird, waiting in the nest for some nourishment.  When we are nourished, we will grow and be able to fly out of the nest, out of our comfort zones, and help others know that God makes all things possible.  ¡Aprende algo nuevo!  Learn something new!

Have you filled a bucket today?

Everyone is created by God and God looks at us as a treasure.  It is how we live our lives that determine if we are a treasure to others.  Are we consistently lifting others up by encouraging them and being compassionate?  Do we genuinely care what is going on in someone else’s life whether it is good or bad?  Do we just stay wrapped up in our own little world thinking that everyone is against us or that no one else cares?  These things can determine if we are being a treasure to others.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for KidsThere is a book that was popular a few years ago and circulated through elementary schools.  It encouraged people to think of others first and was about teaching others about bullying, name calling and put downs.  It also promoted environments to be respectful and encouraging.  I have seen it in action and it is amazing what it brings to your mind to help you remember.   The book is called “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?”

The main premise of the book is that we all have this invisible bucket and when we do kind things for others such as saying something nice, helping others, or giving a hug — we fill their buckets and we fill ours at the same time. When we are unkind to people like calling them names, being a bully, degrading their character — we dip into their bucket and our own. The fuller your bucket is, the happier you are, so the idea is to keep your bucket full through kind deeds as much as possible.

This not only applies to children but to adults also.  It is so important that we show the examples to our children.  I see so many children that are so full of attitudes and not encouraging one another.  Sometimes you only have to look at the parents or the home life.  Some don’t have the home life that will encourage them.   As parents and adults, we need to lead by example making sure that we are forming the next generation to love and encourage each other.  It is important for us to be a generation that is not only creating heart treasures with the younger generation but also preparing them to have warm hearts for the future.

Be a rosebud among the thorns…

In the past couple weeks, my rose bush has exploded.  It needed a trim, but I didn’t want to trim it until the buds bloomed.  With the cold snap, the bloom process slowed down.  With all the rain, it has grown so much that I think it might try to come in my front door.  A rose bush is such a beautiful thing.  The blooms are so pretty but if you reach inside, you may get stuck with the thorns. My rose bush is taking over my entryway and needs to be cut back to allow for easier access to my front door and so that it doesn’t reach out and grab me every time I walk by.  I know that it will also bloom much more after a proper trim.  It made me think about how this applies to our life.

We all know people who may seem beautiful in some circles but we know them as a thorn who is always ready to stick someone with negativity.  In my experiences with these kind of people, it is hard to look past their thorny presence but God tells us in Matthew 5:16 that we should be a shining light to others.  We should be more like the rose and less like the thorn.  So how do we handle thorny people and allow ourselves to be healthy bloomers?

  1. We must recognize whether we are a rosebud or a thorn. Are you positively blooming in your circle of the garden?  Is your life representing the beauty of Christ or are you predominately a negative person which could be a thorn to someone else?  Without Christ in our daily lives, we can tend to be the thorn.  Pray each day that God would help you to be a beautiful rose so that people would see love and kindness instead of a thorn that would cut and bring others down.
  2. Maybe you are that small rosebud that is trying to bloom but you are always amongst thorns. Do you just immediately cut them all back and cut them out of your life?  No, you wouldn’t trim every branch from a rose bush or there would be nothing left to bloom.  The thorns protect the buds from animals that might just eat them.  When we experience thorny people, we still must bloom in a way that shows them Christ.  Negative people will try to overtake us but we must show them that the beauty of Christ is stronger than any negative person or action.
  3. Sometimes it is necessary to prune the parts of our lives that are out of control. If we are constantly among thorns, we need to get to a place where we are among more blooms so that we can multiply the beauty.  Negative people can bring you down and cause you to become more like them.  Soon you will go from being the rose to being the thorn.  When we prune some of that out of our lives, we will be more fruitful and a stronger witness for God.

The rose bush is a strong plant.  It can grow easily and doesn’t require much attention once it gets firmly rooted.  Our strength can show when we are firmly planted in God’s word, fellowship with others and showered with prayer by others and for others.  For people to see you as that beautiful rose bud, you must remember that your actions speak louder than words.  Steer clear of gossip, bad language and negative attitudes.  Remember that kindness counts in everything that you do.

Be the rose, not the thorn.

All trimmed and beautiful–ready to continue to bloom!

 

God’s plans are always Plan A!

Most of us like it when Plan A works and we never have to look at Plan B or C.  Many times we are only thinking of Plan A and don’t have a Plan B.  However, life sometimes throws a wrench into the plans.  This verse was on my desk calendar today and made me realize that if we commit our plans to God, we must be faithful to trust that His plan is always best!!

Usually when we look back on life, we can see distinct evidence of how Plan B was the better plan and most likely God’s Plan A for us all along!

Shampoo Bottle Anxiety

I threw away some shampoo bottles and had a slight anxiety attack.  It was similar, but not as rough, as the one I had the night the pastor search committee called to tell me that they had finished their search.  Now, before you think that I have gone off the deep end or that I need help, please keep reading.

I have a walk-in shower.  Mike kept his shampoo, soap and shaving cream on one side and I had the other.  When he passed away, I didn’t move them.  I would clean around them but I left them there.  I suppose it was my way of feeling like things were still normal.  They didn’t change the way that the sun came up each day or how I did my daily activities.  It was a subtle reminder that Mike might have been the only one keeping Prell shampoo in business.  However, last week I decided to replace the shower curtain.  This led to a complete bathroom cleaning.  I decided to throw them away.  After putting them in the trash, I felt my emotions wash over me (no pun intended).  It was just shampoo/soap bottles.

The night that I got the call that the pastor search committee had finished their search was difficult.  I was at Hannah’s cheer practice and it was almost over.  Once again, emotions swept over me and it was like a river of tears exploded from my eyes.  My heart sank again as I knew that the final closure had come.  Anxiety.  Tears.  Grief.  It wasn’t because I didn’t know that it would eventually happen.  It was just another thing I had to face.

The anxiety over the shampoo bottles faded quickly.  It is amazing how God can just help you to smile through it.  I could even feel Mike smiling as he shook his head at me.  Likewise, the day after I heard about the pastor coming to MHBC, I felt God leading me to contact him via email to introduce myself since Hannah and I would be out of town during the weekend of the call.  I also listened to his sermons online and felt very impressed with his style of preaching and teaching.   God was in control of this and I knew that He would send the right person to the church.  In less than 24 hours of the onset of anxiety, a peace had come over me.  Life goes on and God has a plan.

Anxiety is real and can sweep over you quickly.  How you handle it is what is important.  I don’t always like being an adult or doing the things that my husband used to do but life goes on and God has a plan.  Sometimes we must realize that our faith is created in simple things and we just have to be prepared to let go of the “shampoo bottles” and continue to live each day one breath at a time.