Reflections on Ashes

• The good that we create lives on to nourish others
• Live in consideration of the legacy you will leave
• Things left behind are windows for memories
• A little preparation helps prevent unforeseen situations
• Commitment results from warm embers and brings about change
• Developing strong character and integrity sets one apart
• Judging worth by appearance is speaking without experiencing
• Seeing ruins may bring both sadness and wonder
• Releasing negative thoughts and emotions is not an easy task
• When trust is broken relationships can crumble and blow away
• A spirit of renewal lends strength to rise above adversity
• Humility is not weakness but is gentle strong compassion
• A quiet presence during grief brings comfort
• God takes the ashes of our lives and creates masterpieces

From “Reflections on the Everyday”
Charlotte-Anne Allen

A Better Day (Our Easter Journey)

Heading toward Jerusalem
He entered it that day
Shouts of acclamation
Cries to be saved

Walking among the people
He spoke lasting words
Showed us servant giving
As storm clouds gathered

Oh, where now is our Savior
Betrayed by those beloved
In agony and prayer
Obedient Lamb of God

Can there be such compassion
In the midst of fear and doubt
Loss grief despair confusion
Striking buffeting death

What’s this now seen in darkness
Piercing light and open way
Speaks of new beginnings
Life rises out of love

Jesus walks among us
Transforms our doubt to joy
Fellowship for all who come
Hear see eat with him… Believe

Can it be so simple
Toddler’s first wobbly step
God’s strong hand and presence
Direction faith and hope reborn

Light’s rays to guide us
To lift and reassure
Life’s purpose now before us
There is a better day

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

“As… so” Proverbs for Springtime

  • As the soil is tilled, so are we made ready to receive
  • As seeds are planted, so are our thoughts guided
  • As creatures emerge from winter shelters, so we step out to discover and grow
  • As flowers rise from the earth, so life is reborn
  • As the sun warms and draws new life, so kind words bring healing and hope
  • As spring rains soak in and nourish, so the sharing of knowledge and wisdom betters our lives
  • As wind tears and roars, so ill-spoken words tear and hurt
  • As weeds are cleared to make room for desired plants, so removal of harmful relationships or habits encourages healthier lives
  • As bushes are pruned and stronger growth results, so we gain wisdom and strength through trials and experience
  • As flowers brighten and green buds burst forth, so music and laughter express joy and peace

from “As… so Proverbs
Charlotte-Anne Allen

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

Bright Stars

Bright stars piercing the night with their clarity
Or shimmering through tree branches and distant cloud
What vastness and might you speak of!
What awesome power and beauty!

We look, we behold such majesty
Mind does not contain
The works of our Creator
And His great love for us

Stretch our arms wide
We who stand below in our smallness
Securely wrapped in the arms of God
Bright stars showing us His splendor

Where?

“Now what did I do with it?” I ask myself as I rummage yet again through my bag. “I know I put it in here!” At times like this I find myself doubting my memory, which is admittedly not always dependable. My frustration rises and I find myself unable to move on to something else. “Where is it?”

Searches are interesting. They can lead to new discoveries and new ways of doing things. Where would we be without the persistence and inquisitive minds of inventors and researchers? It can also be disappointing or stressful, especially when searching and searching without success. Perseverance can bring rewards, but that sometimes means setting the search aside for a while or allowing ourselves time to calm our mind and think things through. Prayer sure can help with each of these options… Reminding myself, “Oh well, something will work out” does wonders for lowering the stress level!

Have you ever searched for something and found it, only to discover that it was not what you needed or wanted after all? And what about those times when it is rediscovered right where you had looked numerous times? Fresh eyes and encouragement are a help too, along with a dose of patience and perspective!

I’m reminded of the women who went to Jesus’ tomb. The angel knew why they were there, “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth” he said. Jesus, upon speaking to Mary, asked, “Whom are you looking for?” but she didn’t recognize him until he spoke her name.* How many times have I looked for something but didn’t recognize it because I had the wrong perspective?

While all our searches and questions will not lead to what we want, they can lead to new discoveries and opportunities, growth in faith, and fresh eyes. We reconsider the way we see, understand, and relate to things. Like the women seeking Jesus, God calls us to seek Him and He tells us that when we do, we will find him.* Sometimes I wonder if I’m looking in the right direction or if I need a better perspective. It’s hard to know where to look when the stress levels go up, isn’t it?

I am glad to be reminded that God speaks our name and that He sends others to help point us in the right direction. May you be encouraged!

Charlotte-Anne Allen 3/5/2022
*Mark 16:6, John 20:11-15a
Luke 11:9

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

Weathering

When we awaken to the day
And things are bright and sunny
The sky is fair, and thoughts are clear
We’re eager to get started

Stretch our arms and raise our eyes
To the Maker of us all
To God give thanks and offer praise
He shines His light anew

When there come rumbles warning grumbles
Great flashes crashes gusty tempest
Skies are blanketed and heavy
Hearts fearful searching seeking

Stretch our arms and raise our eyes
To the Maker of us all
To God give thanks and offer praise
His strength and power overcomes

So, when the wind begins to shift
Or dark clouds drift our way
See the shaft of light break through
Be nourished by His cleansing rain

Stretch our arms and raise our eyes
To the Maker of us all
To God give thanks and offer praise
His care for us is true

On those cool morns of cloudy gray
When fog touches with fingers chill
There too is found a quiet peace
As His comforting hands enfold us

Stretch our arms and raise our eyes
To the Maker of us all
To God give thanks and offer praise
A place of rest within our struggles

In winter’s bite and icy dread
There’s beauty in the snowy white
As a joyful child in simple faith
He draws us to His warmth

Stretch our arms and raise our eyes
To the Maker of us all
To God give thanks and offer praise
May He shine on us anew