Easy…

I needed to read this today, and I thought you might also need to read it:

I don’t have a lot to say about it, I just wanted to put it out there for those who are struggling (and that’s pretty much all of us, I believe.).

Until tomorrow, dear friends, go easy on yourself.

Being hope…

This came to me through a couple of different sources in recent weeks. I saved it because I knew I wanted to use it as the jumping off point for a blog post. And then today in Zoom Bible Study, we were discussing hope and discouragement. And this quote came to mind.

Are you feeling discouraged about the state of the world? I bet most of us are, right now. But two pieces of good news for each of us: God is still God – loving, compassionate, strong and in control – and God is still inviting us into his mission. And when we participate in that mission, we become part of the hope that world so desperately needs.

That’s what the Pope is saying – we need each other. And we are made for helping each other.

So today, dear friends, I challenge you to help someone. Anyone. Be the reason their day changes for the better. By doing so, you’ll be honouring God.

Meme Monday!

I mean, this is how just about any math problem reads to me, anyway. But still, point taken:

A little ecumenical humour for you:

Cracked me up:

Ha! The whole year has been like this (see, occasionally I post cat memes instead of dog memes!):

I still love Pumpkin Spice, but the jokes crack me up:

Some theological public health guidance:

And some mental health guidance…be kind to yourself:

One for my fellow over-thinkers:

Another explanation for the weirdness of this year:

This bit of wisdom:

And this blessing for your day:

Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep on laughing and thinking and drawing closer to God!

New Beginnings start with Awareness and New Direction…

This week, we look at the way that God calls Samuel in the temple, when Samuel was a boy.

Let’s begin with Eric’s prelude: “The Power of Your Love” by Bullock, arranged by Jane Holstein:

The scripture reading is the entire third chapter of 1 Samuel, which can be found here.

The sermon is entitled, “New Beginnings start with awareness and new direction,”:

Our hymn of response is this beautiful setting of “Ancient Words,”:

And finally, Eric’s postlude, “God reveal your presence,”:

Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep listening for God to speak!

Worship Resources!

In Zoom Bible Study this week, I referenced a song entitled “The Silence of God,” by (of course) Andrew Peterson. In the difficult days of 2020, this song seems entirely appropriate and extra meaningful. (And I just realized that’s Audrey Assad on the keyboard – I’ve featured some of her music on the blog before):

Andrew Peterson always makes me think of my Dad and singing with my Dad, cause we’ve done duets of some of AP’s music, so I thought I’d re-share this video of my Dad singing “God of the Mountain (is still God in the valley)…:

A prayer for our world:

And these thoughts on hearing God’s voice:

Ouch! But also…sadly true sometimes.
Autumn is one of those seasons in which I feel like I’m constantly seeing God’s voice in the midst of creation.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, may your hearts be ready to hear (and see!) the voice of God.

Heavy…

We are all carrying heavy things right now. We’ve been carrying heavy things for most of the year. Friends of mine who are usually endlessly energetic have confessed to being tired. Others have found that they are struggling with mental health in a way they never have before. Some are struggling to make ends meet, and others are finding they don’t have patience to deal with even small bumps in the road.

Some seem perfectly fine. (But I’m pretty sure they aren’t.) Just because they carry it well, doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy.

So this is your regular reminder, as tired as you might be, to always approach others with kindness. Everyone is carrying heavy stuff right now. Everyone.

The kindness you extend to another may just help lighten both their load, and yours!

On friendships…

Here’s the thing. In every trying season I have been through in life (and, O Lord, there have been some such seasons!), God has provided people like this for me:

Often these people came into my life unbidden and without me searching for them. Often they have been dropped into my life for a season in away that can only be credited as a gift from God. Sometimes they have stayed for good, and other times they’ve only been in my life for a season or two. Sometimes they’re in my life for a season or two, and then not for many seasons, until our paths cross again and we reconnect.

The trick, I think, is to trust that God knows what we need (and what we don’t need) when it comes to the people in our lives. The trick, I think, is to hold on loosely – to allow the ebb and flow of friendships and mentorships without trying to make people remain a season longer than they are meant to. It sounds an awful lot easier than it actually is.

But if you’ve been in my life for a season or many, I’m grateful that God brought us together. I pray that I have learned from you, that you have learned from me, and that whenever the time comes to part, we will find we’ve left each other better than we found each other.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, take a moment to thank God for the people He has brought into your life and the lessons he has taught you through them!

Gratitudes!

With Thanksgiving being weird this year, one of the blessings to come out of the strangeness is that so many people have been saying how they still have a lot for which to give thanks. I’ve heard that from people who have much and people who spent the day alone. I’ve heard it from people who enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving turkey feast, and those who had pizza or other non-traditional foods.

So I think it is entirely apropos to take a moment to name our gratitudes. Some people do this gathered around the table as a part of their traditional dinner, but since so many were not able to gather around a table with others, let’s take the time now to mention three things for which we are thankful.

Here are three of mine:

  1. Zoom. I know a lot of people are “zoomed-out” as the pandemic continues and so many activities are moved on-line, and I get that. Sometimes I’m tired of Zoom, too. But in recent days, two things have been very life-giving to me on Zoom: one is Bible Study (the experiment of leading a Zoom Bible Study with a dear friend and colleague of mine has been going really well, despite occasional technical difficulties!) and the other is a Zoom time spent with friends of mine from Florida on Sunday evenings. It’s a time that we get to chat and laugh and tell stories and have a glass of wine together. Often I’ve said to Tracey that someone should invent instant travel so that I could come hang out with her more often. Zoom has given us that opportunity. What a gift!
  2. The bacon-wrapped turkey breast I bought as part of weekly groceries which was soooooo good. It was inexpensive, it was enough for me and I can tell you I’ll be buying that again, I hope! It was nice to have the taste of Thanksgiving even though my dinner was consumed in front of the computer screen while FaceTiming with my family in Belleville. (Not to mention the smashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and roasted root veggies…yummy!!)
  3. Koski. I’m always thankful for my dog, who has been extra cuddly lately. When we go out for a walk, she gives me a huge grin and hits my hand with her nose to say, “I’m happy, Mom!” She continues to be a joyful companion through the strange days of 2020.

I hope that you will take some time to write about or name out loud the things for which you are grateful. Giving thanks to God for blessings big and small is a deeply faithful way to respond to uncertain and difficult times.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep on giving thanks!