Sit a Spell


“Sit a spell and rest your feet!”

What a welcome southern invitation bringing thoughts of warmth, good company, and honest labor! Settling down with a cool drink of water and comfortable companionship lifts one’s spirits. After a long but satisfying day of work, I look forward to sitting and relaxing for a while. Don’t you, too?

I find that it’s harder to get to sleep at night if I haven’t given myself some time to just sit and find refreshment in some simple enjoyable things. Easy time talking with a family member is appreciated, as well as some time alone. I look forward to a nice quiet spot by myself where I can read or write, spend some time in thought, pray, and do other things which I enjoy.

What are some things that refresh you after a long or busy day or week? Those of us who are caregivers may be especially challenged to create moments to refresh yourselves. Seeking ways to pause, if only for brief breaks, will do much for our frame of mind and our ability to do our best with a positive attitude.

This reminds me that even Jesus was intentional about creating those times. As he was traveling with his disciples, they stopped at a well and Jesus sent the disciples off to town to buy some food. He sat down by the well, tired and thirsty, seeking refreshment and welcoming the pause.

Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey,
sat down by the well. It was about noon
. John 4:6

I remember my childhood days of warm summer evenings playing outside with my brothers and neighborhood friends. I hear again the sounds of occasional passing cars, televisions, and our laughs and shouts, as our parents sat and talked after finishing the day’s chores… drinking from that well that comes from God. I remember times when we gathered with my family around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and enjoying each other. I’m thankful for those times and for opportunities to create them now, to pause and be refreshed.

May you be blessed this week as you rest in your travels and sit down by the well. Prayers for refreshment and renewal, quiet times of rest, and comfortable companionship!

Never


“Well, I never!”

Have you ever heard or expressed these same words? When taken by surprise, when the unexpected or unplanned hits us head-on, this simple phrase expresses it all! Fill in the blank.

Never, never, never… A word that can express relief, disappointment, anger, conviction, and so much more.

I never have to go there again!

– We never thought they would do such a thing.

I’m never going to talk to him again!

I’ll never give up.

Sometimes “never” is a positive word, a practical expression of the end of use for some item (That’ll never come clean or That can never be repaired). At other times “never” is a call of desperation. Think of the times when you’ve worked to complete, learn, or do something and you reach the point when out of frustration or exhaustion you just think, “I’ll never get this done!” When we reach such low points, “never” can loom its head and drive our thoughts downward. We struggle with self-doubt, need, or depression… echoes of The Raven’s “nevermore”!

How do we cope when our thoughts take a plunge?! When “never” seems like a dark storm approaching? Pausing for some quiet time and prayer sure helps. It would be so nice to have some support too, someone to help out or to be a sounding board and understanding presence.

That reminds me of when Jesus spoke of satisfying hunger and thirst, not just physical satisfaction but a deeper hunger and thirst for a full and significant life. He knows our need for forgiveness of wrongs, for peace and happiness, and for God. Jesus was saying that all who come to him will never go hungry or thirsty for what really matters in life. He will never turn anyone away who comes to him. Now those are some good “never-s”! *

As we encounter our “never”, surprised by the unexpected or unplanned, may we be drawn to God’s “ever” …ever with us and ever satisfying our greatest longings and needs.

*John 6:35-37
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Reflections on Rice

• It takes a seed to form ideas to have a vision for great things
• We often underestimate the impact of one life upon another
• The effect of one person will have lasting results
• Fear and uncertainty can blind us or hold us back from taking positive steps
• Sometimes we need to remove things which prevent us from growing and becoming
• Cultivate good qualities and use them to benefit others
• A single skill or interest has endless possibilities for expression
• We absorb attitudes, assumptions, ideas, expectations, and philosophies from everything around us
• It is prudent to keep a clear head and take time for contemplation before making decisions and following a chosen course
• Let experience bring calmer responses and clearer insight
• Offering encouragement and value to others is like water to sustain a body
• Food for the soul comes from God, the great provider and source of life

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

Like Honey

Honey. I love honey, especially in a cup of hot tea or maybe spread on some toast or a biscuit.

Growing up in a small town, our neighbors behind us kept some beehives and the busy bees were regular visitors to our apple trees. We were also thankful recipients of some of the harvested honey and honeycomb. I still have fond memories of that honey!

A fun fact I’ve heard is that honey is the only natural food source that has all the nutrients that we need. Natural raw honey is rich in antioxidants. It’s also helpful in healing wounds and is a positive alternative to processed sugar. Isn’t that amazing?! The fact that it is good for us really makes one of my favorite verses even more meaningful.

Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24

Like honey, words spoken in kindness are healthy and healing for both soul and body. When our spirits are low, an encouraging word can be powerful. We remember soft and comforting words offered during times of stress, don’t we? Even if I can’t remember the exact words later, I do remember that they were spoken and how much they meant at the time. Thoughtful words spoken during times of celebration or after hard work and accomplishments are important too.

“Kind words are like honey.” What we choose to do with our words has an impact every day. Do you ever think of the effect of your words, both words spoken, and words left unspoken? I was thinking about the fact that words we don’t say can have as much effect as words we do say. What if we don’t encourage or express our love and caring to someone who needs it? How will that affect their lives and what blessing do we also miss? Then too, what if we hold our tongue and don’t speak that hasty or critical remark? Aren’t we all more prone to snapping at others during times of anxiety or exhaustion? Stepping aside, avoiding words, or being especially mindful of what I say helps… Those are good times for some kind words from others!

Just as a smile is contagious, so are positive and kind words. “…Sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Maybe we can help each other out with that, and in so doing better reflect God who loves us.

Reflections on Feet

• A good foot rub relaxes body and soul
• We often take things we use daily for granted
• Comfort is bare feet on the cool grassy ground
• Bringers of good news are like sunshine after a cloudy day
• Be mindful of where you go and whom you walk with
• Travel brings new discoveries and renewed relationships
• Stand firmly for goodness and justice
• Consider possible consequences to avoid slipping
• Some paths are full of rocks, roots, and washouts
• Wisdom speaks from experience
• Heed words of wisdom to avoid stumbling
• It’s good to put your feet up and breathe after a busy day
• Walk through life seeing interruptions as positive opportunities
• Follow the feet of our Shepherd

from “Reflections from the Everyday”
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Gracious Grace

Crash! “Oh, no! I didn’t know that was there!”
“Goodness gracious! What happened now?!”
Responding with good grace we cleaned up the mess together.

Ever been in a situation like that? … I was thinking about how we use the words grace and gracious in so many ways. Handy for many circumstances! “Grace” is the middle name we gave our daughter and “gracious” is literally “filled with God’s grace”. They are beautiful words rich in meaning.

What thoughts or pictures do these two words bring to your mind? Perhaps you think of love, kindness, goodwill, forgiveness, generosity, and maybe a certain ease or elegance…

Can you think of some positive uses of these words? Maybe you have another saying or proverb. Here in the south, we “say grace” when we offer thanks to God before a meal. We are grateful when we have “gracious plenty”, whether that is something physical, emotional, or spiritual. A person’s “saving grace” is some quality about them that balances or makes up for not-so-great qualities. Responding “with good grace”, with patience and politeness, is a good attribute to pursue! Whom of us have not appreciated a “grace period” for some overdue or forgotten responsibility or chore? “Goodness gracious” fills many a need for expressions of surprise, dismay, or awe… Sometimes there are just no other words.

What about some other phrases that express our needs or mistakes?! “By the grace of God” acknowledges our own need for God, as well as our humility and our compassion for others who are in difficult circumstances. We all “fall from grace” at times, losing favor or the liking of others, whether it is a word misspoken or unsaid, miscommunication, or any number of perceived or real shortcomings.

I can relate to Paul as he talked about grace in his letters to the church in Corinth. He said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect” *(1 Corinthians 15:10). He reminds us that it’s God’s grace that brings life and that we need to extend that grace to others. Paul called this the “grace of giving”. Isn’t that a wonderful way of putting it?!

But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
2 Corinthians 8:7

My prayers for us all is that even as we receive God’s awesome gift of grace, we will also excel in this grace of giving.

Charlotte-Anne Allen

Share your thoughts!

Reflections on Pancakes

● The right combination of ingredients brings out our best
● The blending of our experiences shape who we are
● Consider the ways you can improve yourself and then follow through
● Using a fresh perspective opens our eyes and hearts
● Making needed adjustments keeps us out of the rut and enriches life
● Memories are thoughts that bubble up and burst upon us, often at unexpected times
● Be true to your faith and commitment wherever you are
● A calm and even temperament is much to be desired
● Adding some sweetness brings smiles and shares happiness
● Begin all things with a solid base as you look ahead
● Establish positive routines for development and accomplishment
● When we’re feeling the heat, God’s Spirit helps us to rise

Charlotte-Anne Allen

Love You!

“Love you!”

“Love you, too”

These words between friends, family members, or others are an expression of mutual affection and support. Have you ever considered how powerful they are?

For those on the receiving end, these simple phrases can bring a wealth of meaning, can’t they? I’m happy… We’re enjoying each other’s company… You’re special. They can also express empathy and compassion. I’m so sorry… I regret what happened… I still care.

What about when we speak those words? Sometimes it is so easy to say them, especially when we are happy and are spending enjoyable time in each other’s company. In parting, they are reminders for each other which we take with us, lifting each other up and bringing smiles to faces.

Have you ever struggled to say or to return them? Maybe there has been some strain in your relationship, some hurt or struggle… some unkind or ill-spoken thought. How difficult they can be to say in the face of great loss. Death, poor health prognosis, violence, or our own failures… In those times “love you” and “love you too” can be both painful and healing.

As I was reading in the book of Romans this morning, I came upon a word that expresses these very thoughts!

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” *

I was curious about the word “honor”, so I looked up the meaning for its use in this passage [Yes, a bit nerdy maybe but doing this has really helped me to understand verses in the Bible better!]. It said: “a valuing by which the price is fixed (of the price itself, of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold); honor which belongs or is shown to one (by reason of rank…, deference, reverence)“.

Honor is linked with price and value… and (in that passage) with love! 1Corinthians 6:20 uses the same word, translated as “price”. “For you are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” It struck me of the great price already paid for us through Jesus. Each of us are loved, valued, and honored. Do we love, value, and honor each other to this extent? How do we even wrap our minds around that?!

My prayer for us today, is that we will be more aware of the power of these simple words to and from God and with others. May we use them often, with greater appreciation and understanding. May we be transformed and filled as we both give and receive.

* Romans 12:10
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Reflections on Walking Canes

• Consider wisely what you lean on
• A strong base lends support for the work at hand
• There are times to step back to relieve pressure
• Relieving pressure allows room for healing and rest
• It’s good to have something handy to whack with when needed
• Whack away those doubts and fears
• Making good choices requires forethought and regular practice
• When temptation comes, keep a firm grasp on positive values
• Choose the right material to build character and integrity
• It is good to unload our worries to a listening ear
• Whether climbing peaks or walking across the room, a supportive friend is welcome
• Taking the weight off our shoulders brings great relief
• Shepherds both guide and protect with their staff
• God our Shepherd walks with us and shines through our weakness

Charlotte-Anne Allen

Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

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