Signs of Love

When I don’t leave for work early enough I get “stuck” behind a school bus. Since this doesn’t make me late for work, just not as early as I’d like, I choose not to get upset about it but instead watch the kids and their parents as they wait, and as the kids board the bus.  When I’m just ahead of the bus the kids are usually waiting in their yards or driveways. One family of boys is usually chasing each other, passing the time with play. One little girl twirls and dances and I imagine her singing a little tune as she waits in her own little world.

There’s one house that stands out to me more than the others. Almost every morning the dad, dressed in his suit for work and coffee cup in hand, stands with his son of I would guess age 10 or 12. They chat and wait together, but the best part is yet to come.

As the bus pulls up the young man gears up, then runs to get on the bus. I can see him walking back to his seat, settling in on the side of the bus next to his house looking out at his driveway. Dad, still in the driveway sets down his coffee cup, points to himself, crosses his arms across his chest, then points to the window of the school bus. “I LOVE YOU” he is saying to his son. The bus pulls away and the dad turns to get in his car and head to work.

I have just witnessed a precious ritual that both father and son will treasure their entire lives.

The other day I watched this interaction and thought to myself, “Imagine what the son would miss if he didn’t look at his dad.” As I continued my trip to work I had another thought. “What do I miss because I don’t look at my Father?” I realized that all around me are treasures from my Heavenly Father.

As I drove I looked around at the sun reflecting on a pond, the geese snacking in a cornfield, the little waterfall tumbling down the rocks along the road. So many blessings put there for our enjoyment. I too often take them for granted, driving back and forth from work with tunnel vision.

Then there are the gifts of health, wisdom and friendship.

While my body is aging and seems to have more aches, pains and things to get checked out I am blessed with overall good health. I have the ability to exercise and work that many people do not have due to health reasons. I also have good sight and hearing which I too often take for granted.

I am blessed with a sound mind and the love of knowledge. I enjoy reading and writing and learning more about a range of topics. I have access to books, internet, library and community programs and classes if I choose to take advantage of them. I look at people here in America and throughout the world who don’t have these opportunities.

Friends are blessings that encourage and inspire me to be a better person, live life to the fullest and push myself beyond what I think I can do to what I actually can do. I have a number of people who are only a phone call or e-mail away who stand ready to pray for and with me, stop for a visit or a cup of coffee and help bring perspective or brighten a dark and discouraging day.

Most of all, the love and promises of my Lord are in abundance. In the bible He reminds us over and over of His love and faithfulness.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

” And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20b

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5

Just as the father signed his love to the boy on the bus, our Heavenly Father signs His love to us every day. How many of them are we missing because we’re not looking for them?

I ask you to join me in making a point every day to look for God’s signs of love. At the start of the day, let’s look for the blessings instead of the challenges. As we start out with exercise, step into a hot shower and sip that cup of coffee let’s not take them for granted. Looking back at the end of the day I’ll bet we would lose count of the signs we saw throughout the day.

Today let’s allow the signs of love to give us the peace to carry us through our day.

blessings and peace to you!

Paula

Saving Daylight?

Today begins Daylight Savings Time for another year (so if you didn’t set your clocks ahead last night you might be an hour behind everyone else!). I’m not as big a fan of daylight savings as some people are. It’s not that I don’t like the extended daylight at the end of the day. It’s great to have it lighter when I leave work, and nice to be able to go for a walk or do some work outside after supper. However the sacrifice for light later in the day is less light earlier. I really like watching the sun come up shortly after 6am. It’s easier to get up at 5am knowing the sun is soon behind me.

No longer. It will be the end of March before the sunrise is before 7am and the end of April before it is up before 6am. So it’s an exchange really, we don’t actually gain any daylight today. I’m reminded of the legend of a Native American ‘s remarks regarding Daylight Savings Time (thanks to cousin Dave for the image):

So as I sit here missing that hour of sleep I lost last night I have been contemplating the concept of saving time and planning our futures. As the days stay light longer and the spring and summer approaches I tend to make many plans. I plan for the gardens and the flowers I’ll plant. I plan for trips I want to take and waterfalls I want to explore. I was reminded this morning of what God has to say:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.  James 4:13-16

I don’t think God is against setting goals and making plans for our days. It seems to me that if we are to serve him effectively we need to think ahead a little. But our plans should always be subject to His revisions or striking them completely. To make the most of our days we should always start with a conversation with the Lord, both talking AND listening to see who He would have us touch and how we can best serve Him.

We also shouldn’t leave that conversation in the morning. We need to be in touch with God all day to adjust our attitudes and actions to match what He would have us do. I often struggle with this one, getting to the end of the day and looking back, seeing too late opportunities I missed because I wasn’t paying attention. That makes me sad. I’m going to work on doing better.

So my friends, whether you like this springing ahead stuff or not, allow yourself to take the time to think about today and what the Lord has for you. Do the good He has for you today, and go to bed tonight with the peace of knowing you’ve done the best you could for Him.

Blessings and peace to you today!

Paula

Imitation

“Imitation” is one of those words that can be interpreted positively or negatively depending on its context.

When we are looking for the best of something we don’t want an imitation. We want the “real thing”, something authentic and original. For example, when I’m baking and need to add vanilla I’m not interested in an imitation. I want authentic, pure vanilla.

I can tell when cookies don’t have real vanilla in them. They are missing something.

There are other examples of undesirable imitations. Most women don’t want an imitation diamond in their engagement ring. Imitation documents are not as valuable as the originals. Often a remake of a favorite song is considered an undesirable imitation. It’s missing something and we long for the original sung by our favorite musician.

What about imitating people? We have all heard children (and sadly adults too) imitating an action or phrase of another in a mocking manner, making fun of the way they talk or act. This type of imitation can be hurtful and if continued can tun into bullying, hurting feelings and damaging the self-esteem of the recipient.

But there is also imitation of people that is beneficial, even critical to our lives.

As children most of what we learn is dependent on imitation. We learn to walk by watching, then imitating others around us. We learn to talk by repeating phrases spoken to us and to write by copying what is written for us. Even as adults learning a new trade we depend on others to teach us how they do it. Which brings up an important point.

We must be careful who we imitate.

Choosing to learn from someone who has seen success in his or her own life is a wise decision. When we know a person has mastered a talent or who has wisdom on a subject they are the ones whose brains we want to pick. We can depend on them to lead us in the right direction and help us be successful in our own lives. These people can show us their failures as well as successes to assist us on our path. They are not perfect but they are genuine, learning what is important and passing those things on to others.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;”   Ephesians 2:1 NASB

There is one person who was perfect in His life. Jesus came to earth and lived an unblemished life, leaving a legacy for us to imitate.  Examining Jesus’ life through studying the bible shows us how we should treat others and the attitude we should have as we live each day. We never have to question his reputation or wonder if there is someone who could teach us better.

Jesus is genuine and a perfect example.

He is the real thing.

If we imitate Him we will always find the missing peace in our puzzle of life.

blessings and peace to you,

Paula