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

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”

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

Reflections on Fizz

  • When surrounded by adversity, rising above it can be daunting
  • Encouragement pops chains and pushes back words of ridicule
  • We join with others so that our voices may be heard
  • Joyful laughter bubbles forth with good company
  • Our reactions to others are our own choices
  • How we respond makes room for light or drives all into darkest gloom
  • We seek many things to quench our thirst
  • What we gain may fall flat and leave us without satisfaction
  • Thirst for what is lifegiving
  • We bob about in confusion when we lack purpose
  • A bubbly personality brings smiles and lightens the day
  • We are filled and completed by God’s Spirit

Beginnings

“Yaaay!!!” I joined the mob of other kids streaming from the school. Faces were excited and energy was high. The beginning of summer vacation was a long-awaited event! Thoughts of free time, lazy mornings, and summer events filled our minds. Visits to relatives, camping trips, fresh garden food, and (for me) frequent travel to the local libraries to keep my summer reading stack replenished were welcome plans. I still look forward to the warm weather and the change of pace that this season brings. Each season in life is a time of new beginnings.

The Bible is full of stories of beginnings. Some of them were very hard and others were most welcome. What do I do with my beginnings? Times change and events impact our lives, with my family (births, farewells, deaths) … in my work (saying good-bye to a child I have worked with and their family) … my church (as I move from one area of service or commitment to another) … and in the changing responsibilities and seasons throughout the year. Endings mark beginnings.

What thoughts do you have about your own beginnings? As in the excitement of summer, resolve to enter with a positive attitude and assurance of God’s presence and guidance for whatever may come. Whether our beginnings are marked with anticipation or with anxiety, we can take courage.

Ecclesiastes chapter three begins with acknowledgement that “for everything there is a season,” times for beginnings and endings… and new beginnings, and so life goes on. The writer continues with,

What gain have the workers from their toil?
I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with.
He has made everything suitable for its time.
Moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds…
I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy
and enjoy themselves as long as they live.
Moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.” *

As we move with intent in our work and in our rest, I hope that we can look with anticipation and interest. My prayers are that we will take comfort, even excitement, and be strengthened as we face new beginning through our more challenging times. May we remember and know afresh God’s presence with us. As we come to Him in prayer and give thanks for His gifts each day, may we be blessed through our beginnings.

*Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9-12

Nurture

“Wow! Look at that! … and there’s another one!” We smiled as we checked out the growing produce from our summer garden. Careful planting, tending, and watering was producing bountiful crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, corn, squash, and much more. A lot of work had gone into the garden and there was much satisfaction and hope for plentiful provision, both for us and to share with others.

Whether tending a garden, caring for others, or looking after our pets or other animals, nurturing is a part of our daily life. When offered in love and compassion, it is an expression and reflection of our Creator, God. A helping hand or an encouraging word can gladden a heart and bring a smile when exhaustion or stress threatens to overwhelm and reaping benefits of hard work and dedication is rewarding.

God nurtures us, both physically and spiritually. I like this passage from the book of Psalms which expresses thanks to God. Think about it in terms of God’s care in our life as well:

You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it. The river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty. Your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow. The hills gird themselves with joy. The meadows clothe themselves with flocks. The valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. Psalm 65:9-13

Comforting an upset child. Cuddling a pet. Feeding a hungry family. Sitting with a loved one. Protecting those in our care. Being present to support or to share in sorrow. The many small or large acts that we encounter daily offer opportunities.

As we nurture and are nurtured, we can… Pray for those in our care. Rejoice in provision and growth. Rest in God in times of sorrow and drought. Offer thanks and gratitude for His sustaining presence through all things. Acknowledge God’s provision and thank those He brings to us, as we care for each other.

God bless and sustain you through each day. Be encouraged.