Resilience

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A positive attitude to help move on
Through losses and gains
As life deals a blow

Staying optimistic though difficult to do
Learning from failure
Hang on… Don’t let go

A change in course now be resolved
Standing in confidence
Release stress and angst

Strength in community
Not drained nor emptied
Now rise from the ashes

Resilience

From “My Words to Live By” c-a allen

Above, Beneath, and Upon

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When I was a girl, I loved climbing up into trees. Sometimes I’d take a book with me to read, but often I would just sit… swaying gently in the breeze. I would look quietly around me and up into the sky and imagine what it might be like to experience the world like a bird. Darting from tree to tree or soaring through the air… their perspective must be so different from mine!

From the walkway in front of our small-town house, steps led down to the street sidewalk with a nice place to sit on either side. Beneath them, chipmunks made their home. It was a safe place away from the neighborhood cats! I had learned to sit very still, up toward the house, to watch them scampering back and forth. I wondered what they saw as they looked about at the world towering over them!

We people upon this earth come from such rich and varied backgrounds! Like the birds and the chipmunks which I watched, we each have our own unique perspectives. I’m reminded of the story in Acts 2 about the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. People from all nations and speaking many different languages were in Jerusalem during the celebration of the harvest festival, known as the Feast of Weeks (Shavout). Can you imagine the crowds gathered and the diversity of the people?! Hear the shouts and voices of people making their way about the city. See the variety of clothing. Smell the aroma of foods cooking…

Then a great roaring rush of wind drew the crowds to where the apostles and followers of Jesus stood. Can you sense their amazement and confusion as they heard, from these uneducated men, the “wonders of God” in their own languages? … And thousands became followers of Christ from this one encounter.

One thing that I had never really thought about was that these very people, from all nations, then came together. They lived, ate, and worked together in their shared humanity. Their very differences were their strengths… Isn’t that so true for us as well?

I try so hard to consider the perspective of others and what might be influencing or affecting them. Some days are just more challenging than others, aren’t they?! It’s my prayer for us today that God will help us to better consider the perspectives of others and to acknowledge our common humanity. Can you see the people? Can you hear the sounds of life? Can you smell the rich aroma?

 

Southern Rhythms

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Anna Grace and Joseph Lee
Mary Jane and Patrick James
Polly Sue and Charles Thomas

Southern names with long traditions
Folks and family and ties that bind
…Echoes too of days gone by

Celebrations and building community
Proudly looking to new tomorrows
Trading stories and raising kids

Long warm summers and cooling days
Hard-working lives and close-knit ways
Country folks and city slickers

Local grills and jawing guys
Department store sales to catch the eye
Lazy times and long day’s work

Fishing and farming
Reunions and schooling
Parades and speeches for passers-by

Sunday worship and Christmas plays
Small hometowns and storefront displays
Dusty roads and rain-filled skies

Life’s rhythm like swaying trees
Flowing creeks and drifting clouds
Voices echo… fade and grow

HOME

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I’m on my way home! “Home,” a word that fills me with many emotions. During busy days away, I anticipate the time when I can return. Home is more than just a place, it is a comfortable and familiar environment where I feel most secure. It’s where I can relax and be replenished.

Sometimes home means moving. Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth rejected him and so he made his home in nearby Capernaum. When others expressed a desire to follow him, Jesus reminded them that he had no secure place to “lay his head” as he traveled about the land to share God’s news to others. As the early church spread out, it discovered the strength and support of community. They met together, sharing meals in each other’s homes, praying, studying God’s Word, and enjoying fellowship with one another. *

I think there is something within each of us that longs for “home,” for acceptance and love… where we can feel secure and be replenished. What does home mean for you? I have found that making a home requires a lot of prayer and hard work. It has not always been easy and I’m so thankful for God’s strength and guidance!

I’m thankful too for His promise of an eternal home with Him. He has gone to prepare a place for us! * Two of my dear friends have just completed their own final journeys home to that place called heaven and their earthly bodies have found rest. How I miss their friendship and our times together! I’m so glad to have an eternal home to look forward to.

My prayer for us is that God will watch over our homes. I pray too that we will invite Him in as family, to share each day with us.

* Acts 2:42, 46; John 14:1-4

Summer Garden

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Cool touch of dew on morning’s grass
Soft breeze stirs leaf and bough
Tread of foot and word of greeting

Hoes in hand and hats for shade
Bark of dog and back door closing
We make our way to tend summer’s garden

Bare toes in earth’s fresh soil
Soon may seek shoe’s insulation
Sun is rising as weeds are cleared

Call of mourning dove quiet pleasure
Accompanies day’s song of life
Lawn mower thrum and tractor rumble

Rasp of blades and rip of grass and weed
To free tender promises hidden in their midst
Thoughts and dreams of summer’s bounty

Rhythmic movements lift and fall
Another row completed now
Heat and sweat are well repaid

Cool glass of water to quench our thirst
And splash upon warm faces
Times we share in our summer garden

Reflections on Sponges

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• We grow in all different sizes, textures, and shapes
• Interconnected pores allow water and nutrients to circulate
• This interconnectedness carries the source of life
• Sometimes we become dry and hard
• When we are dry and hard it is difficult to care
• Soaking up water transforms us
• When we are transformed we become able to share
• All sponges can help with needed clean-up
• A community of sponges grows strong together
• The Source of Life provides all the nourishment we need