Temptation

When in the boat and on the way
Do storm clouds strive to lure us away?

Or climbing trails as we then go
Enticing side paths beckon so?

Perhaps in strolling through the mall
Let’s grab the grand and ditch the small?

When at my place reclining at last
Has opportunity to serve come and passed?

Eyes travel to what’s not mine
Make excuses that it’s just fine?

To follow desire when the time’s all wrong
Will there be regrets before too long?

Ears listening to words of spite or strife
What does that do to encourage life?

Fling the door open to invite
Help from God to shine the Light

Temptation scatters as He brings the best
Strength to overcome and then to rest.

Hebrews 4:14-16

Transformation

Oh! Wow! Look! Look! … Here it comes. Here it comes! It’s coming out!

Have you ever watched a caterpillar forming its chrysalis (cocoon) and then waited … and waited … to see it finally emerge? What an amazing transformation from a creeping crawling caterpillar to a graceful soaring butterfly!

Before the caterpillar enters its cocoon, it’s not just lying around or curled up in a ball somewhere, is it? Think of all that goes on during the long wait. It’s busily moving, finding just the right dinner table… and eating, eating, eating. It needs its nourishment to grow and to prepare for the future. I wonder if it is aware of the coming time of transformation.

What if that caterpillar, in its eagerness for that final vision, decided it wanted to skip the period of eating and growth? Or what if there was no time spent in the cocoon? It seems crazy to even consider that!

So many times in my life, like all of us, I set my sight too much on a final desired outcome. Like the caterpillar, we need nourishment to grow and to prepare. Like the developing butterfly, we surround ourselves with the presence of things that help us to become what we are meant to be. We need time to develop both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Learning new skills, gaining in knowledge and wisdom, and developing our faith are all vital pieces. They are the stuff of life, aren’t they?!

It’s easy to grumble about the need to wait, isn’t it? We impatiently shuffle our feet and are eager to be done with whatever we are waiting for… or to finally participate in a long-anticipated event, achieve our goal, or acquire some possession.

How often do we consider the process of waiting as our success and our purpose? Like the caterpillar busily eating and exploring, we take time to taste life. That reminds me of the Psalm that says, “taste and see that the Lord is good!” * We live the best we can and find contentment in Him. Even God waits! He waits for us to respond or to complete our tasks here. He waited for Noah to finish building the ark! *

I don’t often read in the book of Titus but came across a verse that says “to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait…” * Through the goodness of God, we are being transformed as we prepare for our final great transformation.

My prayer for us all is to live life fully and with contentment in our waiting.

* Psalm 34:8, 1 Peter 3:20, Titus 2:12
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Junk Drawer

A treasure trove!
What great delight
To re-discover things long forgotten

To dig and rummage
And sift things about
Some wooden matches and screws and tacks

Where’s the thingamabob?
Oh wow, I forgot I had that!
And this will be handy to hang things up

Yay! Here’s the screwdriver
I’ve found my best scissors!
What in the world! Now what is this?…

I’m just not quite sure
There’s really no clue
Can’t throw that away, until I know!

Indeed, one day soon
Surely, before very long
It will all be sorted as I clear some things out!

… Now, what was I looking for?!

I Will Lie Down

“Sit boy, sit. Now, lie down… Good dog!” How many have enjoyed the company of their dog or other pet? Have you noticed how dogs will turn around and around to find just the right position before settling down in happy contentment for a time of rest? They like to lie down close to their caregiver or climb up on their lap… even those who have overgrown said lap! There is a special bond and sense of peace from such companionship.

Most of us have struggled at some time with being able to lie down and to sleep peacefully. Our bodies and minds, when stressed, excited, or wound-up by the day, have difficultly settling and relaxing. Have you ever gone to bed exhausted but then your brain just won’t shut down enough to relax?! Our thoughts, even sometimes good ones, just keep churning away! Then too, often the chaos of our world weighs us down or we find ourselves constantly bombarded by negative news or surroundings. Health challenges and any number of stressors just contribute to the tossing and turning!

That reminds me of the story of David in the Bible, who found himself pursued by a jealous king who was intent on killing him. I imagine that David often found himself short on sleep. He certainly had occasion to fear and to find rest almost impossible as he ran for his life! But David showed his continued faith and reliance on God in the book of Psalms as he said,

I will both lie down and sleep in peace.
For you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
*

I lie down and sleep. I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. *

David was far from perfect. He was a man of war and made many mistakes, but he valued that special bond with God. Like the dog turning around and around to find that ‘just right’ spot, he sought God’s closeness and comfort.

I know that when I remain tired and unable to sleep well, I am little good for anyone, including myself. Perhaps we can take a lesson from the dog… Can you just imagine climbing up into God’s lap and heaving a sigh of contentment and peace? Can we trust Him enough with our yesterday, today, and tomorrow to allow our minds and bodies to receive His gift of rest? Restored for another day, another hour, another minute.

My prayer for us is that we too will know God’s companionship and experience that special bond. Let Him draw you closer! Climb up into His lap! Lie down and find rest.
God bless.

* Psalm 4:8, Psalm 3:5

Springing Upwards

Struggling warring twisting whirling
Cold and warmth do tear and battle
Fiercely roaring, toss and break
Snatching breath and striking ear

Yet sun’s bright shining speaks of promise
Fragile warming growing stronger
Coaxing life from bud and root
Drawing rising filling lifting

Oh, what life now lies within
Drawn from yesteryear’s memories
Midst cold reminders and warmth of hearths
Springing upwards, ever upwards once again

Reflections on Jigsaw Puzzles

• Giving does not divide, rather it multiplies and nourishes
• Generosity in sharing what you have grows blessings for all
• Disregarding the value of others brings heartache and misunderstandings
• Gather together what is needed to guide you
• Our lives are a rich mosaic of colors and patterns
• Look for the beauty in small things as well as grand displays
• The beauty of a life brought to wholeness gives us hope
• God will comfort us in our brokenness
• We often struggle when we cannot see the whole picture
• Looking at all perspectives and options can help gain clarity
• Receiving memories shared by others is like finding missing puzzle pieces
• Apply yourself to learning and to gaining skills bit-by-bit
• Trying new things adds color and interest
• When all is dashed to pieces, there is God to gather us

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

Moments

Oh, that time would stand still!
In those moments of bright clarity
Treasured in our hearts and
Seared in our memories

Of those we hold dear
For life and love and family
Friends and church gathered ‘round
God’s holy ground, simple and true

We open eyes to brilliant color
Ears to laughter and tears
A gentle touch and helping hands
Life’s essence … caught in a fleeting moment.

Charlotte-Anne Allen 2/25/2022

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!

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