Reflections on ICICLES

  • Life is ever-changing
  • We are formed by our experiences
  • There are times for growth and times for reflection
  • Cold centers can form from adverse conditions
  • Frozen hearts are difficult to thaw
  • Slow drops and warming temperatures bring good changes
  • How we use something determines its effect
  • Some strive to cut and others to heal
  • Wisdom must be applied for positive results
  • The longer we hold onto grudges and anger the larger they grow
  • A firm and strong beginning helps establish the outcome
  • Stating the point clearly and well decreases confusion
  • Reflect beauty and light as you grow
  • The Maker holds us tightly and creates masterpieces

from “Reflections from the Everyday”
Charlotte-Anne Allen 02/06/2021

Attitudes

Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I can’t handle together (An old preacher’s greeting to each new day).” As I looked at the small green slip of paper, which had been carefully typed (on a “real typewriter”) and cut out by my mother, I thought of the positive attitude she had always shown in life. She was a great encourager, a strong support for my father and us kids.

Have you ever considered the tremendous impact our attitudes have on our thoughts, perceptions, and actions?… Positive attitudes lend themselves to a better approach on life, how we react to stressful situations, to resolving conflict, in interactions, and with any decision making. Negative attitudes do the opposite, as we struggle more in these areas and are more likely to give up.

But it is much more than that! What impacts our attitudes? From very early in life, perhaps even day one, our attitudes are being formed. My mom often reminded me to take one thing at a time when faced with an overwhelming task, like schoolwork or major decisions to make. An awareness of how our attitudes affect us allows us to look at and to approach life through a much broader lens and with greater understanding.

Have you ever just made up your mind that you are going to have a good day? While not knowing what each day brings, I have found that beginning with a better attitude helps me to approach things more positively. Do some people just “rub you the wrong way”? Instead of stewing about them, what if I decided to respond with a caring attitude and supportive actions or words that were not dependent on their response or lack thereof? Looking beyond sharp responses, unkind words, or silence requires some major attitude adjustments before they are encountered.

Attitudes are constantly developing and revising as we grow and mature and as life experiences occur, hence we hear admonitions to change our attitude or to examine our attitude when situations warrant. Phrases such as, “Watch your attitude” or “You need to change your attitude” come to mind!

As an early “attitude lesson,” I remember when a neighbor’s grandkids were calling unkind things across the fence between our yards. My mom encouraged us to respond with a positive and friendly attitude and when we did friendships were formed and we enjoyed our time together. “Attitude adjustments” are often needed in all ages and stages of life.

How much control do we have over our attitudes and what can we do about it? How can honest examination and understanding improve our physical as well as our mental or emotional health? What part does our faith background play in our attitudes? I ask myself these questions and think about how my attitude is helping or hindering my relationships, my level of stress, my openness to God’s call each day, and my trust in Him.

Just thinking about this and about life in general has already begun to shift things for the better. I have a feeling that I will be working on my attitude for the rest of my life, and that is not a bad thing! My prayer is for us all, as we dig in and take an attitude check each day. We may be pleasantly surprised at the difference it makes!

Reflections on Bridges

wooden bridge in woods_pexels_cropped

• Sometimes the way seems impossible
• By persevering we make a way for others
• We cross from one season of life to the next
• Some roads lead us over roaring torrents
• Other paths cross and meander over quiet ways
• Ways that meet can change the world
• Making bridges together forms strong bonds
• Reach and stretch to pursue positive goals
• Build what is good and strong and enduring
• Move forward with open eyes and positive perspective
• As you travel notice beauty around you and give thanks
• The Son is our greatest Bridge-maker

from “Reflections from the Everyday” by caallen

Summer’s Waning

bench water sunset_mood-4269040_1280_pixabay

As summer begins to wane here, there is a new feel in the air as thoughts shift and activities focus on the changing season. The cycle of hot days and storms is slowing, although the cool touch of dew in the evenings through the mornings continues to refresh the ground (and bare feet!). The hum of lawn mowers, kids playing outdoors, and voices of those out and about in various summer activities will also continue for a short while. School has already started back for some teachers and students and buses rumble past in their journey to further the education of their charges.

For some, there is anticipation of cooler temperatures and new beginnings and for others there is perhaps a small sigh and a determination to enjoy the last of this season as long as possible. Isn’t that so like all of our lives?

I am reminded of life’s ebbs and flows, like the seasons of the year and waxing and waning of the moon. Difficult times, changing times, happy times, and growing times are all part of our own experience. The familiar passage in Ecclesiastes 3 says it so well, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”

What will we do with our own seasons – as we move from warmth to cool, to freshening or to dryness, to relaxation or hard work, or from trials to celebration – in an ever-moving rhythm? For good or bad, we hold on to some things and never fully experience or enjoy other things.

Struggling through the waning of things we hold dear is hard! Waiting, letting go, and wrestling with churning emotions is unsettling, a difficult or uncomfortable place to be!
Will the light grow again? Will happiness come? … But I don’t want to say “good-bye”! Even moving through new and positive seasons can be a challenge. It’s so easy to miss the goodness in the sometimes-mad rush of life!

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve made a resolve to intentionally enjoy those positive times, to catch myself in those moments. It has taken some practice! Perhaps it is a satisfying opportunity to help someone else… a new word spoken by a child I’m working with… encouragement or a positive comment from a friend… time to rest and relax after a long day of work… or moments with my family.

There’s so much to be thankful for, whether the season is ending, beginning, or even in the difficult waiting and changing times between them! We can be assured of God’s presence in them all… as we are looking back, looking forward, and taking time for the now.

My prayer for us today is that we will know God’s presence through all of our seasons and find comfort and joy in Him.

*Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Psalm 23

Try

child bent over to ground

To meet the goal
That’s true and good
A big commitment
But I’ll try

What challenge is this?
The need is great
Working together
Let’s try

That first new step
It looks so daunting!
And what if I fail?
Only try

To fall and rise
Now once again
Discovering new things
Because I tried

Opportunities come
So be encouraged
If you say that I can
Then I’ll try

One foot one hand
A step a reach
How will you know
Unless you try?

World changers that
Both big and small
Not giving up
Just try!

Autumn’s Tinge

autumn trees covered bridge_pexels-photo-236458_cropped

Autumn’s tinge is in the air
Now lightly nibbles
Now backs away

Grasses fading
Flowers too
Chill of evening
Cold mornings’ dew

Speaks of time to come
Days shortening
Sunset’s advancing glow

Leaves stirring
Lift and part
Now spin and whirl
In joyous dance

Autumn’s tinge is in the air
Its nose uplifted in anticipation
Of the new season’s approach

Reflections on Traffic Lights

traffic light yellow sky_pexels-photo-147430_Cropped

• Always be alert when approaching crossroads
• Knowing when to go and when to stop aids activities
• Pause to assess the landscape before proceeding
• We all need to slow down in order to avoid accidents
• Waiting for changes can be difficult
• Sometimes the change goes smoothly and without pause
• Collisions may occur when we are impatient or distracted
• Regular maintenance helps ensure continued health and best service
• Obeying traffic signals is important for interaction with others

 

New Year’s Dawn

Snowy morning_cropped

Northwind chill and bundled frame
Speaks of New Year’s coming dawn

Sunlight bright or blowing snow
Quiet breath catches in anticipation

Laugh of children and calls to come
Homemade soup to warm one’s bones

Barking dogs or honk of horns
Season’s tide begins to turn

Twilight’s glitter and dark’s bright star
Contemplation of time now past

Frosty morn and day’s cold rise
Hope’s dream and New Year born