It’s Come!

Carols, cantatas, and choirs… Oh, my!
It’s that special time of year
The sound of music fills the air
Of voices and brass and string

Candlelight now softly shining
Red bows and green wreaths displayed
Stories recited and children excited
Games to play and words to sing

Rest from work, busy preparation
Traditions make the season special
Quiet moments for thought and prayer
Love offered and gifts to bring

Times to treasure and remember
Uplift, renew, be of goodwill
In community we worship God
May peace, hope, and joy now ring


Charlotte-Anne Allen

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!

Dost Bow Your Head

Dost bow your head, as they would say
In olden times when they would pray

We come before God with humble heart
In quiet thought at a place apart

In worship of His mighty power
Secure with Him, we pause in this hour

With troubled thought we seek a guide
Or time of joy… We do not hide

God knows us well. He loves us all
We rest in Him, both big and small

Now be assured. Release your stress
He bids us come, and he will bless

Dost bow your head

Thoughts of Summer

Barefoot days
Shorts and T’s
Cool clear water
Garden fresh veggies

Warmth for body
Sun’s rays heating
Fans blowing, shade cooling
Welcome breezes stirring

Birds calling, dogs barking
Yard mowing, weed pulling
Storms rolling, rain falling
Golden sun rays, moist woods

Early morning and evening’s chill
Dew’s sparkle and quiet hush
Life and faith one day at a time
Summer’s rhythm speaks of contentment

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.

Temptation

When in the boat and on the way
Do storm clouds strive to lure us away?

Or climbing trails as we then go
Enticing side paths beckon so?

Perhaps in strolling through the mall
Let’s grab the grand and ditch the small?

When at my place reclining at last
Has a chance to serve come… and passed?

Eyes travel to what’s not mine
Make excuses that it’s just fine?

To follow desire when the time’s all wrong
Will there be regrets before too long?

Ears listening to words of spite or strife
What does that do to encourage life?

Fling the door open to invite
Help from God to shine the Light

Temptation scatters as He brings the best
Strength to overcome and then to rest.

Hebrews 4:14-16

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

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

Tender Child

This special child
Now held so close
Cradled softly in loving arms
Resting, trusting, safe from harm

Compassion born
Full of grace and truth
Heaven announced
Good news, great joy

Peace and goodwill
Now come, make haste
True light’s glow
Awaken our hearts

Cast aside our fears and doubts
Draw us close as tender child
To treasure words of hope
Christ Jesus come to earth

*Luke 2:8-20, John 1:14, 16

Foggy Mornings

The cool morning greeted me as I peeked out of the window, then stepped outside. Soft fog gently touched my face and chilled my arms. Drops of moisture clung to leaf and blade, lending its nourishment. Sounds of early morning rising were muffled and the neighbor’s nearby chickens clucked contentedly. The cats’ meows welcomed their morning feeding.

I love these soft foggy mornings, where the day begins more gently. The fog hides or softens our surroundings and I am more acutely aware. The quiet invites me to join in, easing my soul and settling my heart in preparation for the day. In that pause, I breathe deeply and feel at peace.

The prophet Jeremiah spoke of God’s majesty as seen in His creation. “It is (God) who made the earth by his power…He makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.” * I think of God covering us, like a mist or fog, offering us nourishment and gently touching us to cool our anxious thoughts.

What an encouragement and positive start for our day! As the sun rises and begins to burn off the fog, so we turn to our activities or head off to work. Breathe deeply. Draw on God’s covering presence. Know His touch.

Prayers for you each new day. Be encouraged.

Jeremiah 10:12-13