Loving One Another

Archive for April, 2019

3 Ways to Live in Hope & Happiness


Thank you for joining me for
Day #8 in the A-Z series
Adding Meaning and Purpose to Life

H = Hope & Happiness

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In the search for meaning and purpose,
and in an effort to live
more intentionally to fulfill my purpose,
I have discovered
that living with a spirit of Hope
is the key to Happiness.

Let’s focus on three ways to bring more Happiness to our lives through the inclusion of HOPE as a key factor.

Step One: Eliminate Fear

Is there an area of your life where fear abides? Perhaps a health scare or a relational difficulty? Maybe it’s just fear of tomorrow – the unknown.

Author Maya Angelou said,
“Hope and fear
cannot occupy the same space
at the same time.
Invite one to stay.”

By inviting HOPE to occupy the space fear might have taken, we can find greater peace.

In so doing, as Sandy C. Newbigging wrote, we can have a more positive impact on others.

living in peace
Impacting the lives of others in a positive way is a sure key to happiness.

 

Step Two: Place your Hope in the Lord

In 1Peter 3:15, we are reminded to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Biblical hope is marked by confident expectation based on the promises given to us by God. God gives us promises of His care today and in our future. With trust in the Lord, we can live knowing our purpose and God’s plan for us extend beyond this physical life. We can take joy in His promises.

belief bible book business

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Check out how God’s – By Grace Alone  – helps us go forth!

The Maranatha Singers (I love ’em!)

 

Step Three: Release Expectations of Perfection

Hope does not exist in an atmosphere of perfection, so we need to let go of perfection as a goal. Rather, HOPE walks us through the imperfect times. HOPE accompanies us as we navigate the difficult circumstances of life. HOPE picks us up and helps us learn from our errors.

Our errors are not stop signs in our lives. Instead, they are opportunities. We need to lay them at our feet and use them as stepping stones to guide us to a happier, more fulfilling path.

adult adventure beautiful climb

Photo by Nina Uhlíková on Pexels.com

With HOPE in place of fear,
TRUST in the Lord, and
FREEDOM from the tyranny of perfection,
our lives will radiate more JOY.

two women walking

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

We’ll go a long way on the path
of living out our purpose
with PEACE and HAPPINESS.

Thanks for joining me on this journey!

 

Tell The Story Challenge


‬‬

Renee/Heart Tokens  was nominated by Amy for the “Tell the Story Challenge” created by The Eclectic Contrarian

There were 2 pics she gave, and Renee chose the one that spoke to her the most.

Then Renee posted two pictures and invited her readers to join the challenge.

I decided this sounds like fun… and so I am joining in.

Here are the Rules:

Pick one of the images given to you, write whatever comes to you. Short, long, funny, sad … a tribute to someone, a poem, a song. Then choose two or three images and some nominees and keep the ball rolling.

 This is the image I chose – and I selected Haiku as my genre:

God’s Gift

 

Going to war is hell
Only music can save us
God seemed to know that

 

Here are the three images I choose for your selections:
alcohol blur bright burnt
watercolor bird
man with braided hair

Photo by VINICIUS COSTA on Pexels.com

And here are my nominees:
5. Anyone of you – my Ideal Readers – who wants to join in. Do!!
Sorry, I can’t seem to erase these items that were transferred from Renee’s original post: Renee/Heart Tokens  … so just ignore this bottom part! But, do click on Renee’s title in red here and see the picture and story she posted.

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Accept Grace & Express Gratitude


Day #7 in the A-Z series: Adding Meaning and Purpose to Life

G = Grace and Gratitude

Are you grateful for God’s chisel?

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Photo by Werlley Meira on Pexels.com

You know, our lives are filled with things that crowd out what’s really important. Sometimes, we clutter our time with frivolity. (Do you ever feel like your blogging might qualify in that category?) Transforming our lives so that the most significant goes to the top of our to-do list is not an easy task.

The shaping tool that God uses is like a chisel. By His Grace, He chips away at our selfishness, our self-centeredness, our pride, our laziness, and our greed. When we accept His Grace, He replaces those attitudes with generosity, concern for others, diligence, and a far-sightedness that only He can give.

Unlike my SnapChat app that can instantly turn my skin silky, vibrant, and wrinkle-free, and surround me with hearts of love, God’s chisel is not a one-click deal!

I am grateful for the shaping tools God uses to help me slough away the detrimental parts of my being. (I wish it COULD be a one-click deal, don’t you?)

In yesterday’s devotional page in Daily Guideposts, Isabella Yosuico identifies some of those shaping tools:

He sends people to challenge some obstinate defects in me.

He puts me into circumstances beyond my existing skills to control… to compel me to grow.

He allows problems that overwhelm me. They are sometimes so beyond me that I have no choice but to turn to a Higher Power, and surrender to His/Her solution.

By Grace, I have

Love,

Courage,

Strength, and

Wisdom.

By Grace, I can exhibit

Sympathy,

Loyalty, and

Power –

The Power that lifts me into The Word.

bible blur christ christianity

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

In my eight decades of living on this troubled earth, I have found the wisest and, ultimately, the easiest path to a meaningfulness, purpose-filled, contented life is to submit fully to the Chiseler’s Hands. The Word, my Bible, is my guide. Its guidance directs my attitudes and actions. The Holy Spirit is my constant companion. I am grateful for its presence in the heart of me.

The Grace of the Holy Spirit + Gratitude = HAPPINESS 

Tales from the Mama Duck – family5power –
posted this from the image: Medium
on the subject of Gratitude today:

gratitude=happiness
May The Chiseler’s grace continue to shape me.

God Bless You, my “Ideal Reader.” I am grateful for you.

May God’s Shaping Tools continue to chisel away at you, too!

Are You Stuck?


Is my blog stuck?

Is writing on the same topic,
“Adding Meaning to Life,”
everyday related to being in a rut?

red car on muddy road near trees

Photo by ahmad syahrir on Pexels.com

At my request, professional blogger of excellence,
The Art of Blogging, Cristian Mihai,
gave me ten tips on how to improve my blog.
One of them was,

“… choose one day of the week
to write some weekly type of blog
that [your] ideal reader would love.”

Before making that suggestion, he asked me to define my “ideal reader.” You, my blogging friend, or my daughter, or my creative, encouraging friend, you are it!

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That’s DeDe, my dear daughter

You know I often use Sundays to post my sermon notes. You know I listen intently to capture what the minister is saying to me, and I record my notes in poetry.

It’s not a stretch to call this my “different weekly type of blog.” I hope you look forward each Sunday to seeing/hearing what the message was in church this morning. Here is today’s:

Rev. Jean Johnson, Madison Valley Presbyterian Church

Ennis, MT, April 28, 2019, John 20:19-31

STUCK?

The disciples were stuck

In the same room as they

Were a week ago when

It was a glorious Easter Day.

.

Why were they still there?

What difference did Christ make?

What difference has his death

Made for your life’s sake?

.

Has His resurrection made

A difference in your days?

Or are you, like the disciples,

Stuck in your usual ways?

.

I should be doing better –

Living more authentically today.

I should be listening carefully

Like the disciples on their Emmaus way.

.

But changing old patterns

Is a process that takes time.

Is staying behind locked doors

A cowardly, unacceptable crime?

.

I wanted to wake up today

To a whole new world of joy.

But the news today was the same old

Sad, violent acts, and hates that destroy.

.

Change is well overdue.

I want to see instant relief,

But the hatred in this world

Tends to shake my firm belief.

.

The empty tomb tells me

That the risen Christ is here.

He’s working with you and me

To change our doubts to cheer.

.

Where you are is your

Starting place where you are.

It’s the place Christ comes

And lets you out to follow His star.

.

Have faith to see

Christ is risen;

He’s unstuck.

So should we be!

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We cannot be stuck in this place of 
violence, synagogue shootings, and
a world of intolerance, prejudice,
wars, and hunger. Listen to the pleads
of the Rabbi who spoke to us today.
Don’t let this dark period hide the light.
Go out and BE THE LIGHT!!

Finding Faith & Forgiveness


Thank you for joining my A-Z journey
to explore ways to add meaning to our lives.

Today is the sixth day – the letter “F.”

F = Faith & Forgiveness

They go hand-in-hand. One invites the other.

man in black long sleeved shirt and woman in black dress

Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter on Pexels.com

FAITH

Faith is belief in the unseen. To look beyond the obvious and see endless possibilities adds depth and meaning to our lives. It opens us to gifts beyond measure.

In Mark 9:22-24, a father of a mute son said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, do it! Have a heart and help us!”

Jesus replied, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts.”

In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat talk about faith,
“Recognize and accept that
there is another dimension to life
than what is obvious to us.
Live with obstacles, doubt, and paradox,
knowing that God is always present in the world.”

FORGIVENESS

And because we believe in the God who is our Creator, and the One He sent to forgive us for our repeated wrong-doings to ourselves and one another, we also have the capacity to forgive.

The Brussats wrote about forgiveness:
“In both your private and public lives,
discover the sweet release
that comes from forgiving others.
Feel the healing balm
of being forgiven and
of forgiving yourself.”

Enjoy the sweet smell
Of receiving and giving
Forgiveness’ balm

UNFORGIVENESS

“I am a wretched sinner! I am going to Hell!” Mark shouted from his nursing home bed.

“Mark, we all have sinned. We all make mistakes. None of us is perfect. You have asked God to forgive you. He has! You need to forgive yourself!”

“I can’t! You don’t know how bad my sin is! You don’t know what I did! I can never forgive myself! I am miserable,” Mark moaned.

My friend, Mark, died later that week!

I don’t know if he was able to forgive himself on his deathbed, but I believe our Lord and Savior died so that Mark could be forgiven. He did believe in God. He professed his belief many times.

John 20:21-23 says,
“Again Jesus said to His disciples,
‘Peace be with you!
As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you.
And… He breathed on them and said,
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive anyone his sins,
they are forgiven’ …”

Are you looking for more meaning, more purpose,
and a peace that permeates your soul?

Live in Faith, my friends.
Know the Holy Spirit lives in you,
and know You ARE Forgiven.

You do not need to end your life crying in misery.
Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you will have eternal life in His name.

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

art cathedral christ christian

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.
He is risen indeed!

Be at peace!

 

Adding Meaning to Life – E = Enthusiasm


E = Enthusiasm

Thank you for exploring with me A to Z ways
of adding more meaning to our daily lives,
ways to inspire people around us,
ways to live more intentionally
to fulfill our purpose.

white paper with yeah signage

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Today, let’s explore ways to add meaning to life with ENTHUSIASM:

E nergizing
N ewness,
T rue
H umility,
U nassuming
S implicity,
I ntoxicating
A ctivities,
S teadfast
M astery

In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
wrote the following,
“Celebrate life with intoxicating passion.
It adds zest to everything
and helps build community.
Hold nothing back.”

 

woman in stripes holding hands with person wearing bracelets

Photo by Artem Saranin on Pexels.com

Seek Energizing Newness

Hold nothing back!
Walk on toward the light – – – with enthusiasm!
Walk where you have never walked before.
Eliminate the same-o, same-o…
Discover Energizing Newness!
Share with passion.

Remember, True Humility Attracts

However, in your enthusiasm,
as you are energized by the Light and the Newness,
it’s deadly to be pushy!
You want people to see your enthusiasm,
to capture your energy,
and to wonder “Where is its source?”

Then, you want to inspire them seek the Source. Only with true humility, acknowledging that all life is a gift, and that we are blessed – not by our own works, but by God –  can we hope to attract others to the Light.  Agreed?

Adopt Unassuming Simplicity

The idea of adding more meaning to our daily lives,
finding ways to inspire people around us,
and
ways to live more intentionally
to fulfill our life’s purpose,
does not have to be complicated!

I may be taking an A-Z approach to the task,
but any one of these ideas can head us to the right path.
Approach each day Humbly,
Observe the Newness,
Acknowledge the Source of our Blessings,
Work toward Mastery,
Share Joyfully.
Keep it Simple!

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The path has been walked for us.
The price of our freedom is paid.
Our purpose has been spelled out.
Can we accept it?

Engage in Intoxicating Activities

I have found that looking for meaning and purpose is best found in the day-to-day doing that supports, broadens, and encourages my faith. When I choose to do the things that inspire me, my enthusiasm for those tasks can be intoxicating.

For instance, I have a friend. For the sake of anonymity, let me call him John. “John” is my “senior friend” who needs help with his mail, organizing his stuff, filing for taxes, paying bills, etc. He’s a year younger than I, but he lives as if he’s twenty years my senior. His memory is failing. I pop in on him a couple times a week, get the key to his mailbox at the post office, return with his mail, and strive to bring a little cheer into his over-heated, smoke-filled house. “John” is a chain smoker. My work with “John” is intoxicating for several reasons:

  • I like helping others
  • I feel useful
  • I enjoy bringing cheer to the lonely
  • “John” doesn’t smoke while I’m there; maybe I’m adding days to his life?
  • Several friends also have begun to reach out to others in need

An “intoxicating activity” does not have to be some contagious fun thing like Bunko or bowling, vacationing or visiting others (although, granted those may sound appealing), it can be anything that inspires you – and in the process inspires others. That alone adds meaning to your life – and helps fulfill your purpose.

Work Steadfastly Toward Mastery

Nothing breeds enthusiasm like mastery!

monochrome photography of people playing piano

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

When we work to learn how to do something with skill, there is an ease that comes with that mastery. Your ease causes you to gravitate toward doing that more often. It causes you to want to share your skill. Those areas of mastery become areas of passion – and they become contagious as others see you enjoying yourself. People who master the piano often end up using that mastery as a means of livelihood… and if not, certainly a source of relaxation and enjoyment.

Do you know Laura Sullivan?
She is a Grammy award winning pianist
whose music adds joy to my days.
I ask Alexa, “Play Laura Sullivan for me.”
Amazon Music plays her wonderful, soothing music.
I am inspired to work more peacefully
with her music accompanying me.
Check out this link for free Laura Sullivan music.

https://www.laurasullivanmusic.net/

Add Meaning to Your Life

Enthusiastically plan to use your skills, your talents, and your passions to enrich the lives of others. Your life is enriched in the process!

person writing on white book

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Maybe you already ARE using your talents to inspire others.
Writing is one of mine.
I’m working toward mastery in blogging.
Is there such a thing?

What area of your life is one that inspires you to work toward mastery?

 

 

 

 

Adding Meaning to Life. D=Decode


D = Decode

Thank you for exploring with me A to Z ways
of adding more meaning to our daily lives,
ways to decode the world around us,
ways to live more intentionally
to fulfill our purpose.

atlas ball shaped business compass

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

D = Decode

Today we are on the letter D. I could have used the word DEVOTION, because it is so important that we express our praise and devotion to our Maker and offer thanks to Him every day. But, instead, I decided to use the word DECODE – – – with an emphasis on devotion.

Decode the World Around Us

D ecide
E veryday to
C ompassionately love
O thers and
D eal with
E verything fairly

Decide to
Look for
and fight for
Justice
Equality
and Balance

photo of rocks piled on top of each other

Photo by rasik on Pexels.com


Decode with Devotion

belief bible book business

 

In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
wrote the following,
“Express your feelings of …
adoration through devotional practices.
Pray with words and pray through your actions.”

Decode through Prayer and Bible Study

In a world filled with hate, cruelty, and divisiveness, we can find ways through prayer and Bible study to decode the world around us and live more lovingly, more purposefully, and more intentionally as Brothers and Sisters. Our adoration must be directed heavenward and to one another… not on things that are temporary. Pray fervently for our leaders, for world peace, and for the understanding of friends and family, allies and foes.

Pray for the wisdom to see and understand and act on God’s purposes for you today.

Yesterday was the 25th of April. Each day I read a chapter in Proverbs to correspond with the day of the month (Proverbs has 31 chapters). Chapter 25’s subheading in my Eugene H. Peterson’s translation, The Message, is “The Right Word at the Right Time.”

Find wisdom in the Book of Wisdom, Proverbs, which contains the wise sayings of Solomon:

Proverbs 25: 8
“Don’t jump to conclusions –
There may be
a perfectly good explanation
for what you saw.”

So, we reserve judgement – and as we seek to decode what we see and hear, we look for ways to be affirmative or compassionately corrective.

Verses 11 and 12 say,
“The right word at the right time
is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
And a wise friend’s timely reprimand
is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.”

 

 

Decoding the World through Friendships

Proverbs 25:13
“Reliable friends who do what they say
are like cool drinks in sweltering heat –
Refreshing!”

woman drinking water

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Be a reliable friend.
See and fulfill your purpose through the gift of reliability!
Be a cool drink in the sweltering heat of friends’ lives!

Decode the World though Giving

Give generosity instead of animosity. You get what you give!
Give goodness instead of rudeness. You get what you give!
But, don’t give to get! Let your motives be pure love.
Give without expecting anything in return.

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Just Do it!

Step out in Faith!!
Your world will clear up,
detangle, be kinder,
and you will live in greater inner peace –
if you decode with devotion,
prayer, Bible study,
friendship,
and selfless giving.

close up photography of red and black nike running shoe

Photo by Shane Aldendorff on Pexels.com

Yes, as Nike says,
“Just do it!”

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