Just a Weed

Re-Posting my poem which inspired the name of this website: “The Still Small Voice – for Just a Weed”. For those hearts out there who, like all of us, sometimes feel insignificant. A call for us to see the value and beauty of each life. Precious in God’s sight.

I see your face
Shining bravely
And so I stop
To get acquainted.
It’s just a weed
I hear them say.

Delicate flower
Standing there
Surrounded
By the tended growth.
It’s just a weed
I hear them say.

A splash of cheer;
Yellows and blues,
White and purple,
Lilac too.
It’s just a weed
I hear them say.

I laugh; I chuckle.
I smile with joy
As I make my pass
Around their home.
It’s just a weed
I hear them say.

What weeds are these?
Unwanted ones?
Not at all… but rather,
Unnoticed treasures,
Loyal companions,
Fullness of life!

Charlotte-Anne Allen

Reflections on Rice

• It takes a seed to form ideas to have a vision for great things
• We often underestimate the impact of one life upon another
• The effect of one person will have lasting results
• Fear and uncertainty can blind us or hold us back from taking positive steps
• Sometimes we need to remove things which prevent us from growing and becoming
• Cultivate good qualities and use them to benefit others
• A single skill or interest has endless possibilities for expression
• We absorb attitudes, assumptions, ideas, expectations, and philosophies from everything around us
• It is prudent to keep a clear head and take time for contemplation before making decisions and following a chosen course
• Let experience bring calmer responses and clearer insight
• Offering encouragement and value to others is like water to sustain a body
• Food for the soul comes from God, the great provider and source of life

From “Reflections from the Everyday”
“Charlotte-Anne Allen

Love You!

“Love you!”

“Love you, too”

These words between friends, family members, or others are an expression of mutual affection and support. Have you ever considered how powerful they are?

For those on the receiving end, these simple phrases can bring a wealth of meaning, can’t they? I’m happy… We’re enjoying each other’s company… You’re special. They can also express empathy and compassion. I’m so sorry… I regret what happened… I still care.

What about when we speak those words? Sometimes it is so easy to say them, especially when we are happy and are spending enjoyable time in each other’s company. In parting, they are reminders for each other which we take with us, lifting each other up and bringing smiles to faces.

Have you ever struggled to say or to return them? Maybe there has been some strain in your relationship, some hurt or struggle… some unkind or ill-spoken thought. How difficult they can be to say in the face of great loss. Death, poor health prognosis, violence, or our own failures… In those times “love you” and “love you too” can be both painful and healing.

As I was reading in the book of Romans this morning, I came upon a word that expresses these very thoughts!

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” *

I was curious about the word “honor”, so I looked up the meaning for its use in this passage [Yes, a bit nerdy maybe but doing this has really helped me to understand verses in the Bible better!]. It said: “a valuing by which the price is fixed (of the price itself, of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold); honor which belongs or is shown to one (by reason of rank…, deference, reverence)“.

Honor is linked with price and value… and (in that passage) with love! 1Corinthians 6:20 uses the same word, translated as “price”. “For you are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” It struck me of the great price already paid for us through Jesus. Each of us are loved, valued, and honored. Do we love, value, and honor each other to this extent? How do we even wrap our minds around that?!

My prayer for us today, is that we will be more aware of the power of these simple words to and from God and with others. May we use them often, with greater appreciation and understanding. May we be transformed and filled as we both give and receive.

* Romans 12:10
Charlotte-Anne Allen

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

Honor

What ones have we to call their name,
Of high respect and great esteem?

Ones standing strong for honesty,
Upholding fairness and integrity.

We honor those of thoughtful nature,
That strive for clarity, and are without deceit.

Of strong beliefs and moral support,
Unafraid to speak the Truth.

What do we see? What good repute?
Not built on worldly wealth or power.

Living the values of selfless service
Courage, duty, … and loyalty.

In daily living they make their mark
In what they value and all they do.

Honor


From “My Words to Live By”

Stories

Stories… I love to sit and listen to the stories of others! Shared stories are the stuff from whence wisdom springs. They are treasures, a testimony of times past and present, of growing up years, and of challenges and celebrations.

I remember many family gatherings and the sharing of memories and information, and am glad I collected some of my mother’s remembrances like, “Your grandfather had large hands. I remember how big they were when he held my hand in his.” She and my dad told me of hobbies and skills that our ancestors possessed, where they lived or grew up, struggles and hard times they went through, accomplishments and much more.

Do you remember stories shared through family or friends? As we smile and laugh about past antics and quirky natures, connections are formed. As we learn about struggles and pains, tragedy or overcoming, and doubts and faith, we gain deeper insights. Yes, stories are the essence of humanity.

It’s no wonder that Jesus shared stories, usually in the form of parables. Through them he taught the importance of discernment and truth, teaching in a form in which others could relate. He said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” * I like the way the book of Proverbs opens, expressing the importance of learning, wisdom, and instruction. *

Stories… from the head shaking, foot stomping, belly laughs of epic escapades to the deeply thoughtful, wonder-filled, or heart sighing moments, are of value and worth. They help guide us in our search and desire to gain perspective and understanding, which in turn can nurture compassion for others. May we value and treasure them and approach them with discernment and thought, gaining encouragement, and discovering a deeper connection and love for all peoples.

*Mark 4:9, Proverbs 1:1-7
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Look Up!

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“Listen! What’s that?!” The child that was me craned her neck and shielded her eyes as she searched the sky for a passing airplane or helicopter… If conditions were right, I could follow the trails of high-flying jets or passenger planes as they painted a pattern through the air. I sometimes felt a little dizzy as I focused on the world above me.

There were so many things to discover while looking up, elusive songbirds in the trees, majestic mountain ranges as we traveled for a weekend of camping, and ever-changing cloud formations to catch the imagination. Church steeples all around rose above the surrounding buildings… proclaiming the hour, chiming music, or directing our eyes and thoughts to heaven above.

The Bible uses a lot of images about “looking up” and “going up.” That makes a lot of sense doesn’t it, as we think of God on high?! A favorite verse from the Book of Psalms, (a “Song of Ascents” that was sung as people went up to worship) says, I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.*  Jesus looked up when praying to his Father, when blessing the loaves and fish, and when giving thanks.

When I look up into the sky by day or night or up into a majestic old tree, there is a sense of being a part of a great thing. As I look out and up at rolling mountain ranges, I am a small speck in God’s vastness. Think back or imagine yourself as a small child looking up at your parents, teachers, or others. The whole world takes on a different perspective!

I think too of how I can be focused on my own thoughts or schedule and I fail to look up and see others around me, to be aware of their needs, struggles, or celebrations. Sometimes I have allowed my self-focus to block out my awareness of others. In the book of Luke there is a story about a short man named Zacchaeus who had difficulty seeing too.* I think his difficulty involved more than his height! When Jesus came into into the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw Zacchaeus in a tree craning his neck to catch a glimpse of Jesus. Jesus saw more than the outside of Zacchaeus perched in that tree, didn’t he?! When Jesus offered him fellowship, Zacchaeus’ life took a dramatic turn. After he came down from that tree, he looked up and found Jesus who showed him a better way and who saw him as a person of value and worth.

My prayer for us is that we will look up and see God ever before us. May he open our eyes and widen our view so that we can see the worth and value of others, just as Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus. In so doing, perhaps we will begin to hear, above the roofs and the clamor of the world, the chiming of music… and to give and receive the gift of fellowship. Look up!

Psalm 121:1, Luke 19 

(Small) Treasures

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“Wow! Look at that!”

“Hey, let me see too!”

When my brothers and I were growing up, my parents always encouraged us to look, to explore, to see, and to learn about nature and things around us. I remember the fun times we had looking at things through a magnifying glass or my older brother’s microscope. Camping trips in our pop-up tent camper were memorable family times full of new sights and sounds.

That curiosity and appreciation for God’s creation continues with me today. I love the warm-weather months when I can be outside more …despite the allergies! Flowers, birds and other wildlife, vegetable and herb gardens, fruit trees, and more, bring me great pleasure. As I mow my yard, I often mow around the tiny wild flowers (aka weeds) and see my neighbor smile as I do so. That is what inspired the poem I wrote a few years ago, Just a Weed, and also led to the naming of this blog.

When God finished creating the world, he looked around at all that he had made, and it was very good! When I think of myself as the tiniest speck in a vast universe, I am in awe like the psalmist who, when he considered the heavens, wondered why God would notice us or care about us. I am overwhelmed that he sees my small self as His precious jewel!

Thinking from that perspective and considering the world around me helps me to notice others and to value each life. Whether struggling with self-image or frustrated with what life is throwing at me, I remember that we are God’s treasure and are wonderfully made! Just as we gaze through a magnifying glass or microscope and discover amazing worlds, God gazes into our deepest being, sees our imperfections, and loves us.

*Genesis 1:41, Psalm 8, Psalm 139:13-14

Treasure

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“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