Reflections on Clouds

  • Many things contribute to our formation
  • We choose to be cooling and soothing or a disappointing wet blanket
  • It takes energy and intention to encourage and build up those around us
  • Seasons of storms are part of life
  • Change springs upon us or silently grows
  • We sometimes drift far from home
  • Rising to challenges can be very difficult
  • As experience accumulates, we are better able to nourish others
  • We seek to shield those we love from hurt and harm
  • A protective covering and caring arms bring comfort and strength
  • Settling down on a quiet slow day brings great contentment
  • A day to drift brings peace and releases stress
  • Celebration is great when darkness and strife are broken
  • Like light bursting through dark clouds, let God shine through you

from “Reflections from the Everyday” c-a allen

When clouds are full, they empty rain on the earth” Ecclesiastes11:3

Good Scents

Memories awakened
Stories told
Contentment reigns
When good scents unfold

Indoors and out
Eyes shut
Breathe deeply
Open mind’s door, and smile

Bold cinnamon and apple pie
Minty goodness and lemonade
Bubbling stews and filling soups
Herbal teas and fragrant coffee

Rain on earth and garden’s care
Freshly cut grass and flower’s bloom
Sharp freshness of new-fallen snow
Ocean breeze and mountain stream

Clean laundry and sheets on the bed
Suds in dish water and lotion for hands
Sweet smell of a child snuggled close
Scents to comfort and renew … Good scents!

New Song

Like this, and this… Now move these fingers. As my beginner self practices the fingering and chords on my classical guitar, I move slowly. Learning a new piece takes time and attention, whatever the difficulty level may be for that person. It’s not enough just to know the notes but takes so much more into consideration, such as movement across the strings and how to play each phrase. It requires effort and dedication over time to make the whole piece beautiful and meaningful, knowing that there will be mistakes but persevering and doing our best. Then too, it is not so much the level of accomplishment as it is the satisfaction it brings to oneself and to others. This makes it fun and exciting.

Encountering new things is a regular part of life. What new things get you excited? Is it that new car smell, an anticipated job, a relationship, or a baby and new life? Maybe you are looking forward to a time of growth, learning a new skill, gaining knowledge, or an opportunity to serve. New things and new times can be hard and unwanted too. Maybe we’re just ready to shed stressful experiences and move forward. As I grow older, there are more things to miss but there are also more things to treasure. Faith in God, prayer, community, and family are vital supports when facing new situations. Working through new things can be a long process.

What if I just continued to play the same guitar piece or practiced the same scales over-and-over without using them to improve my music… never learned new pieces? I imagine that boredom or apathy would sneak in, and I may give it up completely. Where would I be if I just focused on my mistakes and my missed practice, or if I let my enjoyment be affected by feelings of not being good enough? Satisfaction and contentment come, not just from what we gain through our new experiences, but what we can also give to others.

My prayer is that we will be as new songs each day, that we praise God for his great love as He holds us through our pain and through our joy, and that we give even as we gain… May our lives be as beautiful music in His hands.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…
Psalm 40:3

Charlotte-Anne Allen 1/1/2022

Shepherd

The Shepherd cares for you and me
Protector, guide, and great provider
God’s words spoken since time began
To prophets and kings who guided the sheep

Near Bethlehem town that starry night
A host of angels brought good news,
To humble shepherds who watched their flock,
Of a new ruler born to shepherd us all

They quickly went and found him there
The Christ Child born to humble home
Departing then they joyfully told
The amazing story… He’s here, he’s come!

Follow the Good Shepherd, source of all life
Who brought us hope to share with all
Shepherds we too, now care for His flock and
Remember the story of that first Christmas night

Charlotte-Anne Allen 12/25/2021

Tender Child

This special child
Now held so close
Cradled softly in loving arms
Resting, trusting, safe from harm

Compassion born
Full of grace and truth
Heaven announced
Good news, great joy

Peace and goodwill
Now come, make haste
True light’s glow
Awaken our hearts

Cast aside our fears and doubts
Draw us close as tender child
To treasure words of hope
Christ Jesus come to earth

*Luke 2:8-20, John 1:14, 16

Reflections on Gifts

• Gifts from the heart come in many forms
• Give simple gifts freely and daily
• A child’s embrace and trust are to be treasured
• Receiving gives others the opportunity to give
• Material gifts, while nice, should not be overrated
• Do not turn away what is needed when offered in love
• Gifts of time and service express compassion and fellowship
• Examine what you value most
• Share faith, family, home, and strength of community
• Be genuine in giving
• See those in need, be present with the lonely, hear the hurting
• Give quietly and without expectation or demand of personal return
• Do not reserve gift giving for holidays, celebrations, or other remembrances
• Give “just because”
• God gave all because of the greatest of love

from “Reflections from the Everyday” – Charlotte-Anne Allen

Courage

A heart beating strong
Not one to give up

Inspired… Enheartened
In fear to step out and
Now do what is hard

Assured in spirit
Raise hope, calm hearts
Be steadfast and sure

Through faith prevail
Standing bold and firm

Courage

From “My Words to Live By”
Charlotte-Anne Allen 12/04/2021

Psalm 31:22a, 24a – “But you [O LORD] heard my supplications when I cried out to you for help… [All you] be strong, and let your heart take courage…

Reminders

Heading home one November evening, I pass the yard with the purple flashing lights of a Halloween skeleton which had been left up. As I turn into my driveway, I see that my neighbor has set out his Santa figure and manger scene. Have you noticed a trend too? As the seasons move forward towards year’s end, decorations are being put out earlier and left up longer. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas…

There is a positive hope in these simple and familiar decorations, despite the challenges our world is facing and adjustments to a “new normal.” They reflect a strength of spirit and make room for happier times. I love the positive celebration of life! This time-of-year is a good opportunity to offer encouragement to others, to realize anew the value of family, community, work, church, giving to others…

As we go about our daily routines, what are we doing to strengthen and help each other? Everyone appreciates encouragement and recognition, or a listening ear. The lighted decorations make me think of the verse that says, “Let light shine out of darkness” (*2 Corinthians 4:6). Think of all the workers, the medical community, educators, transport services, and more who have struggled to keep things running. They have truly been a source of light. How are we impacting others and how have we been impacted by loss and a changing economy? How are we celebrating the good and coming together in our shared humanity?

May the flashing lights of the seasons’ decorations or the quiet humble manger scene be reminders. See through the darkness, give thanks for what we have, and remember the Christ child come to earth. In this journey I pray that we will grow stronger, wiser, more caring… trusting and serving God. May His light shine through each of us.

Winter’s Nip

“Hello,” he says,
“Just passing by today.
But I’ll be back
For a longer stay!”

“It’s been a while.
I’ve been away,
To other climes,
Some cold to lay.”

“It’s quite a job,
The world to view.
Opportunities to enjoy
Outside for a few.”

“A nice warm fire
Will do for some
Who prefer to be toasty
When I come.”

With a nod and smile
He travels on.
But he’ll return
He’s not gone!