Hang On Tight

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When the weather is nice, I like to spend my prayer time on my back deck. It’s my happy place: private and quiet, with a beautiful view of the trees and sky. It feels like a front row seat to God’s creation as birds dart about and bees visit the flowers I’ve planted in various pots strewn about. Witnessing it all draws me closer to the Creator.

Today, as I sat gazing out over the trees, I saw a bird land on a branch. I guess the bird was heavier than we both realized because the branch dipped dramatically under his weight. Had he not been hanging on, claws clutched tight around that branch, he would have slid right off into thin air.

It felt like a lesson on the importance of holding on.

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The East Gate

The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. Ezekiel 43:4

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As I read Ezekiel 43 the other day, I longed for the “glory of the Lord” to enter the gate of my heart. I started to wonder about the significance of the east gate. Before I could research that, I heard God ask me: “What’s blocking the east gate of your heart?”

Of course, studying the Bible and the theology of it is important. But in our relationship with God, I think how His Word impacts us personally is far more important. So I began to ponder that question.

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Good Influences

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! … Do not take a purse or bag or sandals…” Luke 10: 2-4

We moved my oldest son, Zack, into college last Friday. I’ve known for a long time that I’m no longer the one who influences his choices, or remains the primary person shaping who he’ll become. That’s why my nightly prayer for him has been, “Please bring him good, true and faith-filled friends.”

I met his roommate for all of five minutes while helping Zack unpack. He seems like a nice kid. But it’s too soon to say whether he and Zack will bond, or whether he’ll be a good influence or not.

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Remaining Prepared

“You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Matthew 24:44

None of us expected the world to shut down when COVID-19 hit in 2020. When it did, we all looked at things differently: Did we have enough toilet paper and food to get us through? Had we saved enough money to pay our rent or mortgage? Was our internet speed fast enough to accommodate virtual learning and remote work?

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Remaining Connected

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The queen of Sheba, having heard a report of Solomon’s fame, came to test him with subtle questions. 1 Kings 10:1

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My son recently quizzed me with an online Jeopardy game, thinking I would fail. Much to his surprise, I answered every question right! What I didn’t tell him is I had played the same game with friends just days before. All the answers were still fresh in my mind.

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All In

Published on CatholicMom.com

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44

Although a lot of us think we’re in control of whom we meet, fall in love with, and marry, that really isn’t the case. Love is a gift. It can’t be pre-arranged, fabricated, or ordered from a website. Of course, there does come a point when we get to decide whether we’re going to accept love, return it, commit to it, and nurture it. But the origin of love itself is in God’s hands.

The same holds true for our faith. It is a gift. God gives it freely and generously. Then the decision is ours.

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How We See

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Rely on the mighty Lord; constantly seek his face. 1 Chronicles 16:11

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I used to be an intense neatnik. Everything had a place and I wouldn’t rest until it was in it. Some would say it bordered on obsessive compulsive disorder.

Over the years, I’ve relaxed a lot. I’d like to pat myself on the back and claim I’ve achieved balance. But the real truth is my vision has declined. Without my glasses on, I don’t see the dust or dirt, stains or scuffs. Even with my glasses on, they’re so weak, my house looks relatively clean even if I haven’t lifted a finger or a broom in a week.

As a result, I feel lighter and freer. Things look more beautiful to me despite the dirt and dust others may see

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Stay the Course

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. Hebrews 6:11

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My sister, Kerry, claims that we siblings all subscribe to the 3/4 Rule: working on projects almost to the end, and then abandoning them, unfinished. I find nothing more overwhelming and disheartening, though, than a pile up of incomplete tasks. It kills me to do all that work yet never get to experience the reward.

So, I push through to overcome our natural tendencies. Not only do I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor, but I find it inspires me for the next project.

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Weaving Us Back Together

You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. Job 10:11

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One of my roommates in college was a sever diabetic. Consequently, a simple foot injury led to intense surgery. After her return to campus, she asked me to be the one to change the bandages in her foot. I say “in” because every couple of days, I would have to put medicine on a bundle of gauze and literally stuff it inside the large and deep hole in the back of her heel.

I’ve always been squeamish and knew from an early age that I was not called to the medical field. But how could I say no to a friend in need?

In the beginning, it took all I had to not pass out as I pulled the old bandage out of her heel and pushed the new one in. I had to keep my focus on the fact that she wasn’t able to do it herself. I had to help. After doing it a few times, however, I began to look inside her foot and watch what was happening.

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Different Perspectives

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For about forty years He endured their conduct in the wilderness… Acts 13:18

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The running joke in my house is that my kids and husband would make terrible witnesses at a crime. Their observation skills are next to nil. They each operate in their own world, barely noticing what’s happening around them.

If and when something big does catch their attention, each one has a different take on it. Not only do they remember different aspects, but they fill in the blanks with fabricated recollections, not in a malicious way, just in a clueless way. I’d never want to be the judge who has to decide which one of them saw the crime as it really happened.

It’s nice to be reminded that God had a completely different take than the Israelites did when they were wandering in the desert for forty years.

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