Spring has sprung.

I love spring.  Have I told you that before?  I really do love it.  I love the sights, the smells, the sounds.  I love having the windows open and feeling the crisp breeze through my bedroom.  I even love the rain and the thunderstorms.  And, I am not a morning person, but I love waking up early to listen to the birds sing.

I don’t know why birds sing so loudly at dawn.  Maybe they aren’t even singing.  Maybe it is the mama birds crying that the night was too short.  Or the papa birds crying about feeding the young.  Or the baby birds just crying.  All I know, I love the sound of the birds announcing the new day.  I love hearing them sing as the first morning rays crawl across the earth and past my bedroom window.  It is like they are so happy to be the ones to let us know the promise we are given with each new morning.

To me, that is what spring is.  It is the beauty of the earth coming back to life.  After lying still under the weight of the winter snow, the earth is ready to spring back to life and share its beauty.  Each small bud emerging from the dirt is a promise from God that tomorrow will come, and He has given us a beautiful world to live in.

Dear God,
Thank you for all the natural beauty around us.  Forgive us when we take it for granted and abuse it.  Help us to remember the care you took in planning this beautiful home for us.
Amen

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Good Friday

For years I have wondered why today is called “Good Friday”.  In all I have learned about the Easter holiday, I have never thought of the day that Christ died as “good”.  It brings feeling of sadness, the thought that he hung there and wondered why the world had turned against him. Today is the day on which Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. The name may seem counterintuitive to many Christians and nonbelievers, since the day is typically viewed as a solemn one.

Why is Good Friday called Good Friday?

My research led me to several theories on the subject. The first of these theories is that Good Friday is called Good Friday because, Christians believe, there is something very good about it: It is the anniversary, they say, of Jesus suffering and dying for their sins. “That terrible Friday has been called Good Friday because it led to the resurrection of Jesus and his victory over death and sin.” the Huffington Post suggests. Perhaps this logic has helped the name stick—it is certainly how many Christians today understand the name—but it is not where the name originally comes from.

The second theory is that the Good in Good Friday derives from God or “God’s Friday.”  I don’t quite understand how the change may have happened where someone just accidently added an extra “o” and it stuck?  In German the day is actually called Karfreitag (“Sorrowful Friday”), which makes much more sense to me.

The best answer I could find, is probably because good used to mean holy.  Today is a holy day.  Today we take time to remember the unimaginable sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for each and every one of us.  Today is the day that our sins died on a cross, all because God loves us and wants to save us.

Amen
 

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Prayers for Rob, again.

Today my thoughts and prayers are again with my little brother Rob. Last summer I told you about him having part of his leg amputated due to an infection and complications from diabetes. Now, the infection is back and he will probably have to have more of his leg taken. I know he is scared. I don’t blame him. It scares me too.

The last few days, I have been worried about him and unable to concentrate on much else. So to try and get my mind on other things, I planned on working in my garden today. Then I woke up to find snow on the ground. So much for playing in the dirt. Spring is over and it is time some more winter. To find some spring, I started planning for my gardens instead.

I first started pouring over gardening catalogs, marking all my favorites.  Then I went to the garden center.  I wondered around looking at all the flowers starting to poke through the dirt, the buds forming on the trees and the vegetables trying to fulfill their chore of feeding their caretakers.  On my was home, I stopped and bought some potting soil.  The smell of it in the back of my car was the scent of spring.  I might leave it in there for awhile to enjoy some warm weather daydreaming.

My heart is still breaking for my little brother.  To me, he will always be that little boy that is scared of monsters in his closet.  We are both middle-aged and he towers over me, but he will always be my “little brother”, and at this point in our lives we just are scared of different monsters.

Today, say a prayer and thank God for your family. And for today, also please say a prayer for Rob.
Thank you.

Dear God,
So many times I come to you with worries, and I know you are there to listen. Today I am worried about Rob. Please wrap your loving arms around Rob, so that he finds peace in your presence. And in the days to come, please help him to find rest, comfort and peace.

And finally, please help him to know how many are praying for him and his recovery.
In your healing hands I lay this prayer.

Amen

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The Red Barn

For the last few months I have been volunteering at a thrift shop in town, that is connected to our local food pantry. The Red Barn has operated in Sun Prairie for over 30 years providing secondhand clothes and other household items at very low cost to those in need. Recently I learned that the doors may have to close.

Every time that I “work” at The Red Barn, I am blessed to meet wonderful people. People from our community who are facing challenges and are able to find things they need. They are provided these things at little or no cost, including clothes for themselves and their children. People that I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

I am very sad about the closing. I am worried about the people that need what Red Barn provides. I want to do something to save it, but I don’t know what or how. I have been lucky enough to have everything that I need, for my entire life. Now I feel like I should give back to those less fortunate then myself.

So tonight, I am asking for prayers for The Red Barn. I am praying for God to help us do what is best for our community and its people. I am asking Him for guidance. We are his hands and feet for those that need our help.

Amen

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Prayers.

Over the years I have learned many different “ways” to pray. Some I have tried and some I just didn’t think would work for me. Lately, I have used a method taught to me at my current church. When I pray, I use the ACTS method. I think it does a good job of helping to cover everything and it is easy to remember.

A: Adoration. This is where I tell God of my love for him. I remind myself that I am here because of Him, and I am forgiven because the love He has for us in return. I am saved because of His Son.
C: Confession. Usually the lengthiest part of my prayer, where I admit to God all my sins. I am not telling Him anything he doesn’t already know. I am just admitting them and promising to try harder today.
T: Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for, and I love being able to go to God and express my appreciation.
S: Supplication. Last but not least, I go to God with my prayers for others. I ask Him to care for my loved ones, to help all those that I know are in need of him, and to give strength to those who I know are struggling. I also pray for someone I have never met, someone that has no one to pray for them and is in the most need of His love. I pray for peace for us all.

As I have said before, prayer can become a habit. Talking to God should be habit for all of us.

Thank you for this beautiful morning, Holy Father. Thank you for loving us enough to listen to our prayers and always knowing what is in our hearts. Please continue to bless us in so many ways, watch over us and protect us. In you name. Amen

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How can we help?

The last couple of weeks I have been struggling to find something to be upbeat about.  The news has been full of earthquakes, fires, mudslides and a missing plane.  Families around the world have been struggling with fear and grief.  Deep in the cold of a late spring, the world has been depressing.  Looking for a reason to see joy, I finally found it when I least expected it.

Yesterday morning I met with a friend to talk about Habitat for Humanity.  I interviewed a future home recipient to help provide our church with information on the project.  This beautiful woman, who was literally beaten up by life, has decided to make life better for her and her children.  With the help of Habitat, she is determined to provide her kids with a home and a happy life.  When life seemed at its worst for her, she took control.

Today, I am praying for all those people out there who are in dangerous situation and aren’t able to get out.  I am praying that they are able to find the help they need, and that I continue to look for ways to provide that help.

Dear God,
This world can be a scary and dangerous place.  Help us all to be your hands, feet and voice to save those who need your help.
Amen

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Can laughing extend our life?

I spent the day yesterday shopping with 2 dear friends and my wonderful daughter. I had a great day and was reminded yet again, how lucky I am. We laughed until we cried, until our sides hurt, and until people stared at us. As I thought back about the day, I was reminded of something I read online:

A study in Norway has shown that laughter can extend the lives of people. In the study, 54,000 Norwegians were followed for 7 years. These people were asked about their sense of humor and how often they laugh. Those that found the world the most funny were 35 percent less likely to die during the study period. If a person in the study was diagnosed with cancer, he or she was 70 times more likely to survive until the end of the study if laughter and humor is an important part of his or her life.

We have seen the benefits of having a positive attitude toward aging and smiling, laughter too seems to reduce stress and keep our bodies functioning well..

I have told you before that I love to laugh.  Our whole family does.  Apparently, so do our friends.  God created our bodies in a way that actually benefits from laughing.  And the best part about laughing — it is best when shared with other humans.  How wonderful is that?  We were created with the hopes that we would be happy, share laughter, and enjoy life.  We were created to share joy.

“If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.” ― Maya Angelou

So today, I hope you find a reason to laugh.  I hope that you have others around you to share joy.  And if you don’t, I hope you know that I am here to listen and help.  And so is loving God.

Amen

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