● 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
• 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
“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.
“Do you want to see my treasure box?!” exclaimed the young child proudly. Eager hands removed the top and began to tell the stories of things they held dear. There was the dried flower, especially picked for mom, and a sparkly stone shining all colors of the rainbow in the sunshine. There’s my heart, drawn and colored with “I love you” carefully written in crayon. Here’s a family photo and a chew toy of a much-loved pet now gone…
As a child, I had my own treasure box too, filled with small cherished items that brought happy memories as well as some sadder ones of loved ones now gone. The thought comes to me that now my home is like a treasure box, full of memories and of current life.
The wise men brought their treasure chests too and offered gifts for a king, the baby Jesus. Jesus’ mother, Mary, treasured the words the shepherds shared, and she treasured what she saw and heard in her growing son.
I think of the things I treasure now and how those things we value grow and change with us. Have you ever kept something, only to pull it back out weeks or years later and think, “Why in the world did I keep this?!”
I think of how God wants us to treasure His words, His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Life is truly a journey to do just that and to share it with others! Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, said that God “has shone in our hearts to give…” He went on to say that “we have this treasure in clay jars” so that others will clearly see that “this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” Always, we point to Christ Jesus, to God who is our greatest treasure.
My prayer for us is that as we pull out our own treasure box, we will consider what is in it and what is of true and lasting value. That we will see in our everydayness, or plain clay jars, the treasure we are to God and the gifts He gives us. That we will offer to the King all that we have, and so give freely and fully. I know for myself that it’s easier to do this some days than others. May we join in the adventure.
*Luke 2:16-19, 51; Matthew 2:11, 2 Corinthians 4:7
• We may become stiff and dry from the rigors of life • The warmth and compassion of others can restore and renew • A friend who listens is like a welcome scrub • Scrubbing helps clear away dirt and accumulated grime • Rinse away stress and fatigue • Rest after a job well done • We can become musty from disuse • Putting your skills to good use is satisfying • A worn cloth is full of memories • Warm companionship and thoughtful service transform