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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Time for a Thankful Thursday.

I haven’t been writing much lately. My muse seems to have gone on vacation, or is hibernating. I just haven’t felt like sitting down at my computer and sharing all the strange thoughts that are going through my mind. So today, I am sitting at Ryan’s computer. I am in his room just like I was 1855 days ago right now. I am looking at pictures, and being thankful for that wonderful life.

The other day I was walking through the mall, complaining to myself. Not about anything in particular, just complaining. Then I saw a young man walk by that reminded me of Ryan. He was on his phone, talking and laughing. He was enjoying his day. He was enjoying his life. At that moment my day could have gone one of two ways – I could have melted into a puddle of grief, or I could smile at his infectious laugh. I chose the latter. I chose to enjoy the sound of laughter, one of the many things I miss most about Ryan.

During Ryan’s final days, I made a vow to him. I vowed to carry him with me for my remaining days. I promised to enjoy life for him. I vowed to do things that he never got the chance to do and visit places he didn’t get to visit. I decided then that I would live life to the fullest. Most days I fail at that promise, but I keep trying. Just like everyone walking this planet, I make mistakes and I am still learning and growing.

So today, I am thankful for life. I am thankful for the sunshine. I am thankful for everything and everyone in my life. I am thankful for you.

Dear God,
Thank you for all that I have, and for all the amazing people in my life. Thank you for those who have passed through my world and moved on, and for those who are still here. Help me to remember to tell them all how much they mean to me.
And if you have a chance, please let Ryan know how much I love him.
Amen

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Ryan Rocks

Tonight I went to a dinner at church and heard a wonderful inspirational speaker and singer. At the end of the her program, she gave each of us a small blue stone. It was very pretty, but still just a small stone. She asked each of us to look closely at it and then she talked about the way our thoughts and actions are like that small stone. Now I am going to paraphrase, and will tell you what I heard even though it may not be exactly what she said.

Everyday, with every action, we toss small pebbles. What we say to others, what we do, and how we treat others, is like tossing a small pebble into water. Whether we make a big or small splash, the surface of the water is broken and a ripple begins. The rock may disappear, but the ripples are still there. We may never see the pebble again, but as it sinks out of view, the impact it made on the water continues to be there. It may only send out a few small ripples or it may send waves rushing to the shore; whatever it does, the water is changed. The energy we sent into that lake, pond or ocean will dissipate across the surface. A ripple will be felt.

After Ryan passed away, our family started handing out “Ryan rocks”. The purpose at the time was just a small physical way to carry around Ryan with us. We placed rocks with his name or initials at places we visited. We gave rocks to friends and family who he cared about. I know that some of you still have them placed where you can see them, to remind you of the impact a young man on your life. Until tonight, I hadn’t thought of the ripple effect that Ryan had.

We are all like that small stone. We too will disappear from this earth, and leave behind the ripples that we made. Today I challenge you to live a life where the ripples you make are a joy to others. I challenge you to make a big splash, and big waves, that make the world a better place and that bring joy to God.

Amen

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