Offering

To give our mite
Generous in all sincerity
Whatever that may be
Life’s greatest joy
Love’s cherished gift

Guarding things closely
Greed or fright overrule us
Do we cling distressed
Comparing uncertain? …
Shall we consider our offering?

What we have to give
Is unique to each one
Greater than wealth can buy
What good do we crave?
Now give of it freely!

Just look around you and offer.
A smile a touch a friendly word
Says you’re valued and not alone
A penny a need a lift a deed
Given with humble helping hands

Times of plenty and great celebration
Or a world of chaos loss or suffering
Making days brighter lifting spirits higher
Let’s give our mite to show we care
… and make an offering

Delete!

Delete. Delete. Delete… How in the world had I managed to let so many emails pile up and fill my account?! Sure, I deleted many as a read them, but as they slipped out of sight I soon forgot or was too busy to go back and clear them out. It was so satisfying to finally have them gone and to dump out the trash and spam folders.

Looking through my email, I was reminded of many good things – friends, family, work, church – service given, information and encouragement exchanged. Some things I saved to files on my computer or printed out before deleting them, like family stories or other important events or information. It was good to keep the memories.

There were other things that I’d rather not think about though, like illness or death, finances, missed opportunities, and bad news. Can’t I just delete them and forget them?! … What about those painful time periods in life? It would be great if they had never even occurred! There are other things that I’d like to delete too – like bad habits, thoughtless or poorly timed words or actions, things left undone or forgotten. I don’t like to let others down or cause hurt.

Stress and anxiety can be overwhelming at times, can’t it? Uncertain times can keep us unsettled and trauma and loss bring grief. I am so glad that we can turn everything over to God and to know that He will strengthen and support us. He cares about us and our messes are cleaned and washed through faith in Him. God is our delete button for anxiety and worry (*Psalm 55:22a; 1 Peter 5:7).

It is my hope and prayer that we turn to God for our needed “deletes,” whatever they may be, …making space for peace, forgiveness, or comfort. May we look forward with anticipation!

Reflections on ICICLES

  • Life is ever-changing
  • We are formed by our experiences
  • There are times for growth and times for reflection
  • Cold centers can form from adverse conditions
  • Frozen hearts are difficult to thaw
  • Slow drops and warming temperatures bring good changes
  • How we use something determines its effect
  • Some strive to cut and others to heal
  • Wisdom must be applied for positive results
  • The longer we hold onto grudges and anger the larger they grow
  • A firm and strong beginning helps establish the outcome
  • Stating the point clearly and well decreases confusion
  • Reflect beauty and light as you grow
  • The Maker holds us tightly and creates masterpieces

from “Reflections from the Everyday”
Charlotte-Anne Allen 02/06/2021

Warmth

A comfortable chair beside a fire

A jacket drawn tightly against day’s chill

The smiles bestowed on gloomy days

Sun-soaked sand upon bare feet

Soft fur of pets beneath chilled fingers

A baby cradled in one’s arms

Bright rays shining through window panes

Snuggled beneath covers on a winter day

A friendly touch and welcoming greeting

Hot cup of drink held between our hands

Homemade soup to sip and savor

Thoughts and remembrances bring to mind

Warm arms and warm hearts to warm one’s soul

Ah, blessed warmth inside and out

Awake Now Sleeper

Times of rest I must admit
Are needed daily… So do commit.

But when you awake consider this,
Do you walk about as a Sleeper still?

Do you open your eyes to the world around?
Are you a support and is humanity found?

Are your goals for show, for great applause,
To strut in public in response to calls?

When you raise your head, shall you a Sleeper remain?
Blind or uncaring, thinking only of gain?

True life is not a battle of me versus you.
For greatest contentment, now what shall we do?

Awake now Sleeper. Open true eyes.
Close abysses. Build bridges. One stone at a time.

Awake now Sleeper. Awake.

Charlotte-Anne Allen 01/23/21

Stories

Stories… I love to sit and listen to the stories of others! Shared stories are the stuff from which whence wisdom springs. They are treasures, a testimony of times past and present, of growing up years, and of challenges and celebrations.

I remember many family gatherings and the sharing of memories and information, and am glad I collected some of my mother’s remembrances like, “Your grandfather had large hands. I remember how big they were when he held my hand in his.” She and my dad told me of hobbies and skills that our ancestors possessed, where they lived or grew up, struggles and hard times they went through, accomplishments and much more.

Do you remember stories shared through family or friends? As we smile and laugh about past antics and quirky natures, connections are formed. As we learn about struggles and pains, tragedy or overcoming, and doubts and faith, we gain deeper insights. Yes, stories are the essence of humanity.

It’s no wonder that Jesus shared stories, usually in the form of parables. Through them he taught the importance of discernment and truth, teaching in a form in which others could relate. He said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” * I like the way the book of Proverbs opens, expressing the importance of learning, wisdom, and instruction. *

Stories… from the head shaking, foot stomping, belly laughs of epic escapades to the deeply thoughtful, wonder-filled, or heart sighing moments, are of value and worth. They help guide us in our search and desire to gain perspective and understanding, which in turn can nurture compassion for others. May we value and treasure them and approach them with discernment and thought, gaining encouragement, and discovering a deeper connection and love for all peoples.

*Mark 4:9, Proverbs 1:1-7
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Reflections on Rowboats

• Strength of character is an asset
• Dedication and hard work are commendable
• Working together brings about strong finishes
• Think and pray before making commitments
• When you make a commitment stick to it
• Keep your goals ever before you
• Remember to take time out for a slower pace
• Spend quiet solitary time to reflect
• Join others in relaxed company
• Letting go of anxiety develops inner peace
• Mind and body absorb whatever you immerse yourself in
• Thoughts turned to the Spirit lead to contentment in life

from “Reflections from the Everyday”

Enter

Standing at the threshold
What lies ahead
Sunlight gleams
Pointing the way

Pausing attuned
Listen to silence
Or the singing of birds
Peaceful and warm

Drawing breath deeply
Fragrances from life
Bring back memories
Poignant or comforting

Searching eyes seeking
Cool shadowed woodland
Bright lawns or gardens
Faces and homes

Reaching out a hand
Taking the first step
New year’s dawn brings
Anticipation and prayers

He’s Here

The journey was long
And the way was hard
Over steep rocky places
And mountainous trails
… Now he’s here!

Tired out and hungry
We patiently went
Trying not to be anxious
Though thirsty and hot
… He’s here!

In uncertain times
Will there be a home
What about my loved ones
How will we survive
… But he’s here!

Missing my family
So far far away
How I long to be near them
And share the good news
… That he’s here!

Home safe and sheltered
Though not what I thought
Only a few visitors
To brighten the hours
… And welcome him here!

Look to the future
One day at a time
Be strong there’s tomorrow
Hear Mary’s good news
… for Jesus is here!