Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘friends’

Easter Sadness


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I have heard holidays are sad times for some people. There are more suicides near the various holidays each year than at other times of the year. Have you heard that? Have you ever related to such sadness? I’m not THAT sad, but this was not a typical Happy Easter day.

I grew up in a typical American family in the center of California. At least I thought we were typical. Since then I have begun to question what is “normal” – is there such a thing as “typical”? In my world, I Love Lucy and Bugs Bunny made me laugh, Sundays were church and family time, gatherings at our house or at relatives’ homes were the norm for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, when I found myself in a funk this year as Easter approached and no family was coming to gather, I should not have been surprised, right? Wrong! I was caught off guard! Where is the laughing, carefree Bugs Bunny when you need him?

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Our church hosted a potluck after church today –  Easter Sunday; designed just for folks like Bob and me whose family is a thousand or more miles away. Ham would be provided. Last night I created my favorite comfort food for the occasion- scalloped potatoes Andre’ style. I put them in the garage refrigerator for safe-keeping. I spent an hour this morning up in my sanctuary, as usual, in prayer and Bible Study, in meditation as I listened to the robins singing outside the the window. “He is risen indeed!” Shake it off, Jan! ReJOYce! It’s Easter!! Pick up your music. Pick up your Easter lily. Pick up your spirits. Get to your house of worship!

We arrived at church 45 minutes early to practice with the choir. Surely potatoes au gratin and “Up From the Grave He Arose” would lift my sagging spirits. Oh no! I forgot the potatoes where I had safely stored them in the garage refrigerator last night! A dear friend, Susan, who arrived early to work on the potluck volunteered to drive back to our house to get them. Only five minutes away, thank God! Christian friend to the rescue! God bless her. She put them in the church oven and returned to her seat in the pew just as the service started.

I perused the church bulletin. The songs were not “He Lives!” or “Hallelujah, He is Risen.” Instead, “Low in the Grave He Lay” and “In His Time” with a sermon topic, “Failure.” What? Here I am feeling low, missing family, beating myself up for forgetting to bring the potatoes, and the sermon topic is about FAILURE? I drew a sad face next to it! I was not prepared for a downer message from the pulpit! But then as the service began, we all sang, “He Has Made Me Glad!” and the choir sang, “In Christ Alone/Solid Rock.” My spirits were lifting and I paid particular attention to the words of the next song, “Hymn of Promise,” by Natalie Sleethe. The second verse especially spoke to me:

   “There’s a song in every silence, speaking word and melody;
   There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
   From the past will come the future; what it holds a mystery,
   Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”

What a wonderful segue into the sermon. Listen carefully, Jan. Take your sermon notes in poetry – as you usually do – and see what “Failure,” as spoken by Reverend Jean Johnson, says to you:

Silence is in Failure.
Shouts in Victory.
Resilience lies in Failure –
Lessons there for you and me.

Moral Victory or Losing?
Which lesson do you see?
Is the score the truest measure
Of a win for you and me?

Defeat: Success is gone.
Rationalization: Better now.
Reality: Acknowledgement –
There’s a future – somehow!

Failure feels miserable.
Hope seems surely gone.
But the loss is temporary.
New beginnings greet the dawn.

God doesn’t call it quits.
He fills our loss with LOVE.
His peace is ours eternal;
Ours is Victory from above.

Christ defeated death and darkness.
Shouts of VICTORY ring ever true.
His resurrection is our promise.
Hope rings eternal for me and you.

Amen? Amen!

I drew a cross next to that sad face – and on the other side of the cross, a happy face.

No need to stay in a funk! Listen to the last verse of Natalie Seethe’s “Hymn of Promise.”

“In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity:
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”

Thank You, God. Thank You for Jesus… for His life, His death, and His resurrection. Thank You for the promise of Eternity. Thank you for helping me see You, the source of all life and hope, all joy and peace, all compassion and justice – alive and victorious this day and always. May my life be a witness to the new life You offer. You are new every morning. So am I! Happy Easter!

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Family and Friends


There are friends who are family and family who are friends.
There is joy in knowing the love never ends.
There is joy in the morning and there’s joy in the night.
But the God-joy eternal is the best joy in sight!

We are blessed by our family and by our friends, too,
But the blessings of faith bring the best love to you –
Because God is the maker of friends who uplift.
He takes fleeting moments and wraps them up as a gift.

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If you have the fortune to have a best friend who’s your gift,
If that friend is there for you to give you a lift,
I hope you thank God every day of your life –
Especially if that friend is your husband or wife.

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And if in your family you are blessed with a pet,
The love and devotion may be the best it can get!
For an animal gives unconditional love –
The kind we can learn if we’re connected above.

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I thank God today for family and friends – true-blue,
For the two-legged ones and the four-legged, too.
May I always be faithful to love joyfully.
Dear loved ones, be assured, you can count on me.

Happy Valentine’s Week!


I hope you had a wonderful, love-filled alentine’s Day. Have a blessed weekend.

I invite you to enjoy this Hallmark Smilebox! Click on the link below.

http://smilebox.com/playBlog/4d7a55314d7a67774f54673d0d0a&blogview=true

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May all your sweetest dreams come true and may all those you love LOVE YOU TRULY in return.

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Smilebox Stories


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Life is a series of events and people that enrich and magically define your life. It’s fun to write about them. It’s also fun to capture them in pictures. Have you tried putting them in a Hallmark Smilebox? I love this program. It has so many templates and options. Try it!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
This scrapbook design personalized with Smilebox

My Christmas Letter


Each year for the past couple of decades, I have sent out a poem with my Christmas cards, a rhyming Christmas letter that summarized the events and blessings of the past year. I enjoy Christmas letters from my family and friends. Do you? This year I have decided to forego the poem. Instead, my cards contain a picture of Bob and me with our two adult children, taken last February at our 50th wedding anniversary party. The old cliche’, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” applies here. I’ll write a personal note on each card, but for family and friends who have watched us grow through the years, this photo speaks volumes.

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My Christmas Letter

We are living letters
To each other,
Sharing the beautiful story
God is writing with our ives.
Through the Holy Spirit,
By the grace of Jesus Christ,
Our stories are a testimony
Of God’s love alive in us.
We are living letters
To a hurting world,
Sharing hope and peace
Found only in our Lord.
Smile God’s blessed message;
Give your world a dose
Of the healing love of Jesus.
Be the balm to soothe
The souls of those who need it most.

We are living letters.

Merry Christmas, dear friends!

A Poem of Gratitude


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I woke this morning to the most glorious sunrise!
Up in my sanctuary, spending quiet time with my Lord,
this poem of gratitude flowed from my heart.
May it cause you to pause and Thank God, too, my friends.

Oh Lord, my God, I thank Thee
As You walk with me each day.
I thank Thee for the guidance
You provide me on the way.

I thank Thee for the love
You give me to pass along.
I thank Thee for the friends
Who point toward right, not wrong.

Oh Lord, my God, I thank Thee
For the bright new morning sun.
I thank Thee for the moments
I can praise You, every one.

I thank Thee for the trials
And the struggles that I face.
They strengthen and enrich me
As I bow to receive Your grace.

I thank Thee for the joys,
For the happiness that springs
From every living creature
That hops, flies, barks, and sings.

Your world is filled with wonders –
If I just open up my eyes
To see this great creation
That You’ve rolled into the skies.

The stars, the moon, the planets
Are not all there is to see.
You’ve made more than we’ll ever know
Until we reach eternity.

Oh Lord, my God, I thank Thee
For every breath I take.
May my life be in Your purpose.
May I live for Your Son’s sake.

Amen?

Amen!!!

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