Our Tongue

Sword – Mighty weapon to defend from harm
… Or lethal rod to destroy and cut

Log – Strong support to build and shelter
… Or battering ram to pummel and rend

Pen – Words of encouragement and knowledge
… Or scathing ridicule and lies

Hammer – To join, unify, and bind
… Or offer violence to break and tear

Brush – Smooth and untangle woeful thoughts
… Or jerk and beat and cause only pain

Paint – Beauty flowing from careful application
… Or sprays of anger and frustration

For help or harm
… We have that choice

Think first, ponder greatly
Seek wisdom and grace

Before wielding
that powerful tongue!

Right Here, Right Now

“Thank you, God, for this day. Be with me and guide me.” These and similar thoughts and prayers are my daily morning greeting.

Whether we’re someone who awakens quickly, fully alert and moving, or are someone who slowly regains consciousness through blurry eyes and reluctant body where moving is concerned, we all have in common our needs or plans for the day.

With each day’s beginning, we also have a choice about our attitude and our outlook. Our thoughts and responses will likely follow what we have chosen to focus on. Are we dwelling on the negative? Do we make a conscious commitment to see the positive? I am learning to capture the bright spots, to be more aware of them, and to be thankful for those moments.

As I stood at my kitchen sink one day, humming to myself as I washed dishes, I was suddenly aware that I was happy. There had been frustrations earlier with my office work. I was concerned about the health of some family members. There were any number of things to get me down. But “right here, right now” I was happy. I repeated that to myself and smiled, and I thanked God for the “right here, right now” times. I am thankful for moments when I can refocus and trust that God walks with me, and I with him, when my focus turns away from stressful things and rests in Him.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he urged people to think on things that are good and positive. He urged them not to worry but to rejoice and to know that God was near and that His peace would guard our hearts and minds. * These words themselves are cause for happiness and hope.

How many times have we rushed on to the next thing without fully appreciating or acknowledging our spots of joy and happiness? Yes, bad things happen. Yes, some days are exhausting. People die or face pain, frustration, or tragedy… Then too, there are the powerful moments, when we realize in the “right here, right now” that happiness and peace comes from our great and loving God and His presence with us. Memories and moments can burst upon us and make us smile, even through our tears, and laugh and know God’s awesome love in the midst of it all.

My prayers for us all are to gather those moments and smile and exclaim to ourselves, “right here, right now… I’m happy.” God bless.

*Phillipians 4:4-9

Reflection on Soot

• Watch what you touch as it may stick to you
• Accumulated experiences shape and form us
• Heated words can burn up friendships
• Act wisely and think to avoid spreading harm
• Pain and struggle can contribute to unhealthy buildup
• Uncontrolled anger spews hurt upon all around
• Miscommunication causes frustration and estrangement
• Covering up mistakes reflects insecurity
• Honesty and humility help to clear the air
• Tough things in life require hard work to overcome
• Uplifting music covers encourages and soothes
• Caring acts grow from compassionate hearts
• Daily prayer is like a good cleaning
• God is our chimney sweep

From “Reflections from the Everyday”
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Cosmos

Summer’s bright splash of color
Swaying in greeting to wind’s light touch
Quiet conductors with raised wands

Now trills the songbirds’ joy
In harmony with busy buzzing
Neighbor greeting neighbor and
Workers moving in steady contentment

They lead an attentive orchestra
Turning to hear their voices and
Lifting faces to welcome soft touch

So, we move to quiet beat
Giving thanks for day’s harmony
For splashes of color and gentle touches
Work well done and songs well sung

Vistas

Looking out upon such vistas
Endless vault of sky above
Sunshine’s glow and feathery clouds
Or stormy and heavy laden with rain
Night’s darkness broken by heaven’s shine

The earth spreads ever before us
Rolling hills and shaded byways
Surging seas and sandy beaches
And the packed mass of humanity
Rushing past upon busy highways

Light’s beacon beckons life
Sometimes elusive and sometimes bold
Calls us and draws us to security
To calm and quiet our anxious thoughts
Come closer breathe deeply

God’s arms to enfold us.
He weeps. He laughs.
He comforts. He strengthens.
We look upon eternal vistas
And give Him thanks and praise.

And Then … Crickets

“What’s that?!” I asked myself as the shrill call of a cricket broke the silence. I searched the room and discovered the location of the small but vocal insect. Was he calling out for his lady love? Perhaps challenging a contender for that love? The cricket suddenly went quiet as it sensed my presence.

Quiet… Have you ever experienced that awkward silence after someone says something embarrassing or inappropriate? It’s just “crickets,” they say. Or perhaps you’ve worked and planned or struggled to complete some project or event. You speak about it with passion… and then nothing, little or no response! It’s enough to dishearten the best of us, isn’t it?!

There are so many examples of just this in the Bible. The prophets, those sent to bring warning or instruction, were often ignored and the people refused to listen to them. The disciples and early church had their difficulties with this too.

So, what do we do? Being contented in my own path and voice keeps me going, although moments of doubts happen. Choosing to continue, finding that path or calling, and being obedient and trusting God for fruit all help us to follow that vision.

For me, that could mean reevaluating or revising what I’m doing or saying… or writing. It also brings my attention and prayers for that one who did hear or will hear. This is building on one, and one, and one… even in the face of apparent “crickets.” We don’t always know or realize the positive, or negative, impact one person has on another one. Don’t undervalue the significance of solitary encounters and their possible life-changing resounding effects.

Just as the cricket’s voice calls out to others, keep on singing. Keep on striving. Keep on following your passion. Let your words encourage and strengthen. Let your actions speak. Lift up the “one” who God places in your path… and listen for the voices of fellow crickets. God speaks in the quiet.

Reflections on Tissues

  • The ability to start fresh brings hope
  • We all have imperfections and regrets
  • We sometimes fill up with junk
  • Clearing out the junk brings much relief
  • Be prepared to clean up your messes
  • Help comes from unexpected places
  • Be patient with yourself and others
  • Memories of pleasant surprises bring smiles
  • Be willing to reach for healthy assistance
  • Removal of stress or worries releases pressure
  • Soft words can strengthen and heal
  • Dance sing express joy and lead others to do the same
  • Daily contact infuses us with our Creators presence
  • God is by your side during darkness and light

from “Reflections from the Everyday”

Connections

Building growing forming joining
Connections produce the larger whole

Dot-to-dot, white country fences,
Friends and neighbors, family

Look around you everywhere
All with places or parts to play

Birds sitting upon a line,
Small child clinging to your hand

Business office, work and play
Emails filling texts exchanging

But best of all formed and strong
Speaking caring come together

Making connections
To last and treasure

Seeking Comfort

Day in day out
We have ups and downs

When times are dark
And hearts are torn

Shattered deeply…
Where do we turn?!

Lean on God’s strength
Embrace His light

A starry night
———- To wrap us ‘round

Gentle touch
———- Or presence near

A listening ear
———- Someone to hear

A sunny smile
———- Upon a child’s face

Warm sun’s touch
———- Or cool shade’s shelter

Quiet solitude…
———- And a place to shout!

Now draw us closer
As we come

Seeking comfort