Tag Archive | devotional book

The Worst Sin of All according to Floey

Floey sittingMy new dog Floey and I are still getting to know each other. Christmas Day will mark the one month anniversary of Floey’s adoption date. Mim and I and all of our 93-year-olds are so happy that she joined our family. Floey loves all of us, but it’s clear that I am her favorite. She follows me everywhere. Right now, I’m sitting at my desk, and she’s sitting close beside me.

One day last week as I was reading my daily devotional book, A Book of Wonders, by Edward Hays, I decided to ask Floey what she thought about what he said. The title of the reading was “The Absolutely Worst of All Sins.” He said that in our culture, we tend to think of sexual sins as the worst sins of all. Then he added, “Yet among preliterate hunting and gathering cultures, like the Native Americans, children were taught that the worst of vices was stinginess. Not sex, but greed in all forms, was abhorred.”

I knew that Floey had been born on an Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. I wondered if any of their early Native American moral code had rubbed off on her. I asked Floey what she thought was the worst sin of all.

“That’s easy,” she replied. “Stinginess.”

“That’s amazing,” I said. “You didn’t hesitate at all with your answer. Why is stinginess worse than murder, or rape, or anything else?”

“Just think about it, Mom. You know that love is the greatest gift anyone can give, right?”

“Yes,” I replied, and she continued, “What is the opposite of being loving? It’s being stingy, right?”

“Floey, you’re really smart for a pup who’s not even a year old yet.”

Floey sitting - profile“Tomorrow, December 24, I’ll be 11 months old, but I’ve lived and learned an awful lot in those 11 months, and I’ve done a lot of thinking about what’s good and what’s bad in life. When people, and all other creatures, as well, are kind and loving and generous, the world is a better place for everyone.  But whenever someone is stingy, they’re looking out only for themselves, and the world is a little less good for everyone – including the stingy one. They start worrying about getting and protecting their fair share rather than contributing to the good of everyone.”

“Wow, Floey. You’ve really done a lot of serious thinking for a pup so young! Since we’re having such a good conversation, let’s change subjects and talk about something I’ve been thinking about lately – the commercialization of Christmas. What do you think about that?”

“You’re not really changing subjects with that, Mom. The commercialization of Christmas is the best thing to happen to temper the sin of stinginess.”

“How’s that?” I asked.

“What do you think about when you go Christmas shopping?”

“I guess I think about what each person on my list would like to get, and where I might find that gift for them.”

“That’s all about being generous, not being stingy, right?”

“I guess so…”

“Think back to your earliest memories of Christmas shopping. Tell me about them.”

“Those are good memories. Let me start with some background. It seems that every year in December we get some foggy days. Farmers call it ‘case weather.’ We just had some foggy days last week. Remember?”

“Yeah. I remember. But what does that have to do with Christmas shopping?” Floey asked.

“I’m getting to it. I grew up on a small farm. We had about 20 cows and between 300 and 400 chickens. My dad supplemented the milk and egg income with a cash crop – tobacco. Raising tobacco was somewhat controversial because my parents were opposed to smoking, but tobacco was the most lucrative crop we could raise. Essentially, tobacco is what paid for all the “extras” in our lives, like new clothes, piano and organ lessons, and when we were older, college tuition.”

My family history with raising tobacco goes way back. This picture shows my great uncle Fletcher (2nd from right) taking a break from stripping tobacco with his buddies.

My family history with raising tobacco goes way back. This photo from 1898 shows my great uncle Fletcher (the handsome one – 2nd from right) taking a break from stripping tobacco with his buddies.

“Raising tobacco was a lot of work, from planting it in the spring to harvesting it in the fall to stripping it in the winter. That’s where ‘case weather’ came into the picture. When tobacco was harvested in September, six to eight stalks were strung onto a lath. A lath is like a thick yard stick that’s about five feet long instead of three feet. The laths were then hung in a tobacco shed, the tobacco plants hanging upside down, to dry out. In December when we got several days of foggy weather (case weather), the dried tobacco was moistened from the fog. My dad took the laths of tobacco down from the shed and brought them into the barn. The barn was warm and humid from all the cows living in it. My brother and I had the job of stripping the tobacco leaves off the stalk, leaf by leaf, and laying the tobacco leaves into a press that bundled the leaves into bales of about 40 pounds. Every evening and every Saturday during case weather Danny and I spent many hours in the barn stripping tobacco for two cents a lath. That’s how I earned money for Christmas shopping.”

“Okay, Mom, now I see you’re getting to the point.”

“I worked really hard stripping tobacco the couple weeks before Christmas every year, and I usually earned between five and ten dollars. I felt rich! When I knew how much money I’d earned, I made out my shopping list. Usually, it included Old Spice After Shave for my dad, pretty candles for  my mom, stationery for my sister, and a model car for my brother. If I’d earned enough money, I might get everyone some candy or nuts, too. I always spent all my money on presents for them. It never occurred to me to be stingy and keep anything for myself.”

My family - everyone I bought Christmas presents for when I was a kid.

My family – everyone I bought Christmas presents for when I was a kid.

“That’s exactly what I mean, Mom. The commercialization of Christmas isn’t all bad. It reminds us to be generous to the people we love.”

“I guess you’re right, Floey. I’ll try to think of that when I see all those commercials on TV telling us to shop, just like I think of stripping tobacco for Christmas shopping money whenever I see fog in December. In both cases, I can remember that God wants us be loving and generous – and not be stingy.”

“You’ve got it, Mom. See why I’m proud of my Native American heritage. I see I have a lot to teach you. But that’s enough for today. I think it’s time for another walk. Can we run around the pond again? That’s so much fun!”

Floey standing

De-Adult Me, Please

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Remake me as an awe-fascinated primitive,
de-adult me so as to wonder like a child …
[from Edward Hays, A BOOK OF WONDERS, p. 336]

The picture above is my great niece, Katie. I snapped the picture at our family Christmas celebration in 2001. Katie is in high school now. I hope she keeps her sense of awe and wonder forever.

snow on bushesIt snowed last week for the first time this season. And for the first time in my life, I wasn’t delighted by it. Well, maybe for a split second I noticed the beauty of the fluffy white blanket on the bushes outside my bedroom window. But that tiny moment of delight was quickly replaced with feelings of, “Oh no, not already!”

For the last forty years or so I’ve been adult enough to not appreciate snow – at least not publicly. But privately, I’ve always thought snow is beautiful – whether it’s coming to earth in giant snowflakes or it’s silently covering everything outside with a pure white blanket of sparkly fluff. The first snowfall of the season has always given me childlike delight.

Always. Until this year. What happened? Do I need a new coat? A new pair of boots? New tires on my car? Or, do I need to bring out my Christmas music to get me in the mood?

I really don’t know what’s wrong this year. Have I finally become an adult completely? If so, I think I want to pray to become “de-adulted” as Edward Hays suggests.

After all, JOY is my special word for 2014. If I’ve become too much of an adult to experience JOY at the season’s first snowfall, I really need some serious “de-adulting.”

Megabyte was the first dog Mim and I adopted. She always loved to play in the snow. For Meg, every day was filled with many, many moments of joy.

 

What Do I Really Do?

Sears Tower

In the 1980s Northwest Industries took up the 62nd and 63rd floors of the Sears Tower – about halfway to the top.

Last week I heard from some voices in my past thanks to social media. A couple colleagues from the late 1970s-early 1980s when I worked for Northwest Industries in Chicago emailed me through LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Then I heard from a coworker at TDS in Madison where I worked in the mid-1990s, and then a couple clients from my Cambridge-based consulting practice from the early 2000s.

What prompted all these emails is my “Experience Timeline” on the LinkedIn social networking site.  September of 2012 is when I got serious about completing and publishing my two books, Listening for God: 52 Reflections on Everyday Life and Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest: Adventures in Hospitality. I added an entry on my timeline for September 2012 of being a “Self-Employed Author.” This week LinkedIn announced my 2-year anniversary of being Self-Employed, which prompted the emails from some of my connections.

I haven’t seen Jerry and Jan in almost 30 years. Jerry was Assistant Treasurer at Northwest Industries. Jerry and I never worked closely together and we were never close friends, but there was mutual respect. Jerry must be pushing 80 by now, and he still does some financial consulting. Jan was a Disaster Recovery Consultant in the Information Technology Department. Jan and I traveled together a lot to work with a battery company in Pennsylvania that Northwest Industries owned. When Northwest Industries was acquired and most of the corporate staff lost their jobs, Jerry, Jan, and I, along with several other colleagues each formed our own consulting practices. It was an exciting time in our professional lives.

During that time, Jan and I collaborated on writing a book, The Virus Handbook. In the mid-1980s, computer viruses were just beginning to be recognized as a potentially serious problem. As a Disaster Recovery Consultant, Jan wanted to publish a manual of guidelines to minimize the risk of being infected by a computer virus, but he didn’t want to write it. We spent many hours together with Jan teaching me everything he knew about computer viruses. I tried to structure that information into a useful format and we copyrighted it. I wonder if the copy we sent to the Library of Congress is still sitting on their shelves… We sold a few copies, but the best part of our collaboration was the time we spent working together. We were a great encouragement to each other as we built our own businesses.

cat chemist heliumThose emails prompted me to reflect on the strange path my career has taken over the years – English teacher, editorial researcher for World Book Encyclopedia, systems analyst and eventually systems manager for a large corporation, independent business consultant, B&B owner, church organist, real estate broker, caregiver, and author. I guess that’s a rather strange progression of jobs. Not a typical career path. It’s no wonder I left high school thinking I would become a chemist. I had no idea what I would become. The closest I ever came to chemistry in my career was a consulting assignment I did for a pharmaceutical company in Chicago. I’m sure when I was in high school there’s no way I could conceive of the twists and turns my career would take.

An old concept that I’ve been thinking about seriously for the first time this year is the idea that my life, day by day, should be viewed as a pilgrimage back to God. This idea comes up frequently in the prayers I’m reading in Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim by Edward Hays. Here’s an excerpt from one of the morning prayers for summer:

Prayers for a Planetary PilgrimWhatever this summer day holds for me,
may I find, among its many events,
signs to confirm and direct me
in my primary vocation of pilgrimhood.
May I be eager to assist my sister and brother pilgrims in their journeys.
May I do nothing by word or deed
that will detour them on their homeward path to you.
May I burn with the fire of the sun in loving all the Earth
and all members of your sacred family.
I bow before you, Divine Father, Holy Mother,
Eternal Source of my existence.
Your heart is my home,
from you I have come
and to you I journey this day.

I’m still not sure what the right answer is for the blank for “Occupation” I need to fill out on my tax returns. I’m afraid “pilgrim” might be a red flag. But I guess that’s what my real vocation is. All the other occupations I’ve had along my path just add flavor and spice to my true calling.

Pilgrim Cat

UFF DA

Yesterday morning’s prayer in Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim by Edward Hays included these lines:

Grant me the grace to look with respect
upon all I will meet this day
and upon every event I encounter.
Mindful that I am a pilgrim,
may I treat each and every one with reverence and love,
as a manifestation of you to whom I journey.

Uff daAs I read those words, the word that came to my mind was UFF DA. (For those of you who don’t know the expression, UFF DA is a Norwegian expression that is comparable to “good grief,” or “oy vey,” or “Oh no!” It’s a phrase that can stand in for any mild expletive, especially for people who like to avoid swear words.)

UFF DA came to mind because of my plans for the morning. I was going to take “Mary,” one of the three 92-year-olds we care for, to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Madison to get an official state photo ID. She has never had a driver’s license, although she did have an official Illinois photo ID from several years ago when she lived in Illinois. She may need a Wisconsin ID to vote, but more urgently, she recently discovered that she needs a Wisconsin ID to cash in her Savings Bonds. I spent about an hour online Sunday trying to figure out the requirements to get a Wisconsin ID. They’re not easy. I was anticipating a challenging time at the DMV. I wasn’t disappointed.

Mary and I walked up to the DMV clerk with all the documentation we could assemble to prove she was who she said she was – her old Illinois photo ID, her social security card, her Medicare card, and a bank statement with her current Wisconsin address on it.

Waiting in Line 4The clerk said, “Do you have a birth certificate?”

I said, “No, but her Illinois photo ID card shows her date of birth.”

“But Illinois doesn’t have the same standards for guaranteeing authenticity that Wisconsin has,” she replied.

I put my arm around Mary and said with a smile, “I can vouch for the fact that she was born – she’s here.”

The clerk responded, also with a smile, “For any first-time Wisconsin ID to be issued, a certified birth certificate is required.”

I said, “It sounds like elder discrimination to me. What do you think, Mary?” We were all still smiling.

Mary replied, “I’ve never had to show a birth certificate before.”

“Could we talk with a supervisor who might be able to waive this requirement since we have proof of her age on an official government ID from Illinois?” I asked.

“We never make exceptions on the birth certificate requirement. I can give you information about how to get a birth certificate. What state were you born in?”

“Illinois,” was Mary’s response.

I asked Mary, “Do you want to make a scene?” She had a concerned look on her face. “We can do that,” I said to her, grinning.

Before Mary could respond, the clerk said, “I don’t think you look like people who will make a scene.”

So then I said to Mary, “Well, I guess we won’t get your ID today. You must not have prayed hard enough.” Mary prays a lot. I was sure she had prayed about getting her ID card.

“I didn’t pray at all for this. I thought we’d just walk up, show the paperwork, and get the ID. I don’t understand why there’s a problem.”

Unfortunately, being as prepared as we could be and being as pleasant to the clerk as we could be were not enough. I’ll continue to help Mary jump through all the hoops to get her ID so she can cash in her Savings Bonds, and maybe even vote. Uff da. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. As soon as we got home, I went online to read the requirements for getting a birth certificate from Illinois. That won’t be easy either. Uff da again.

A few years ago, Mim created a life mission statement – To nurture and respect, advocate for, and provide hospitality for those who are vulnerable. Today I took on the role of advocate for Mary.

Uff da. I think I’m going to have to keep praying the Planetary Pilgrim’s prayer before and after every interaction I have with Wisconsin and Illinois employees as I try to help Mary jump through all the hoops.

Grant me the grace to look with respect
upon all I will meet this day
and upon every event I encounter.

Uff da mug

A 50-cent Thrill

lightning 9

 

I learned a new word last week – “mirabilary.” Well, it’s not exactly a new word – just new to me. The dictionary (if you can even find it in your dictionary) says it’s obsolete. The 101-year-old 1913 edition of Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary defined it as, “One who, or a work which, narrates wonderful things, one who writes of wonders.”

I came across the word in one of Edward Hays’ books, A Book of Wonders: Daily Reflections for Awakened Living. The title of the reading for April 3 is “A Mirabilary.” Here’s the reading – it’s short, only a paragraph:

Another great book by Edward Hays. This may actually become my favorite of his books.

Another great book by Edward Hays. This may actually become my favorite of his books.

We are wonderstruck when we’re caught off guard by some amazing or surprising thing or person. Unlike being lightning-struck – which is lethal – being wonderstruck is life-giving and spirit-arousing. If God is the Wonder of Wonders, then to witness any wonder is to have a divine visitation. These are more common than is believed. Admiration is to wonder, to be awed when people act heroically, selflessly, or generously. Normally, we have low expectations of our fellow humans. The unexpectedness of such behaviors are visitations of wonder. We capture this by calling them a “bolt out of the blue,” linking them to lightning. Become a bolt out of the blue yourself by being a mirabilary, an uncommon synonym for wonder-worker. Today, surreptitiously plot to be a mirabilary by being a one-person divine visitation. In unexpected places and times, act in a surprisingly unselfish, noble, or heroic way.

The daily reflection ended with this prayer:

Inspire me to perform surprise deeds of unexpected kindness and generosity for strangers, friends, or family, and so be your wondrous bolt out of the blue.

So, last Thursday I plotted to be a mirabilary. This was even better than April Fools. Instead of trying to trick Mim and everyone else in our household with an April Fools joke, I tried to figure out how to be unusually and unexpectedly nice to them. After doing a couple of nice little things – complimenting Ann on how pretty she looked in what she was wearing that day and asking Mim if she’d like me to make Ann’s coffee for her – I told Mim what I was planning to do – to surprise everyone by being extra kind. Mim decided to join me, and we had a great day being mirabilaries together.

Much to my surprise, trying to be mirabilaries is becoming a habit, something we catch ourselves doing every day. The neat thing about being mirabilaries is that this habit is giving us as much joy as the “victims” of our kind deeds.

20 quartersOn Sunday afternoon Mim and I went to a Madison Symphony Orchestra concert at the Overture Center in Madison. We drove to the parking garage where we usually park, next to the Overture Center, but it was full. We drove around a few blocks looking for street parking – without success – so we tried another parking garage. This was the garage where you have to pay by feeding quarters into meters, ten minutes per quarter. Fortunately, I had a handful of quarters in my car. I fed the meter enough quarters to give us three hours of time. I had two quarters left in my hand. I was about to put them in my pocket when Mim said, “Why don’t you give them to those people.” The people in the car next to ours were scrounging through their purses and pockets to try to find more quarters. I walked up to the woman standing by the meter and asked her, “Do you want two more quarters?” I think she and her companions were shocked. She explained that they were going to the symphony but couldn’t get into their usual parking garage. They didn’t know they would need quarters. She gladly accepted my two quarters and fed them into her meter. Mim and I walked away feeling good about being generous with our left over quarters, and our “victims” were delighted to get a couple of quarters from complete strangers.

That was our “50-cent thrill” of the day. Oh, the joy of trying to be “a wondrous bolt out of the blue.”

Both Mim and I highly recommend trying to be “mirabilaries.” It’s fun! Try it.

2 quarters

Make My Day!

Gladys on right, with her sister Alice

Gladys on right, with her sister Alice

A few weeks ago I received a phone call from Gladys, one of my ninety-plus-year-old friends in Chicago. I had sent her a letter to tell her about the two books I’ve written, and she was calling to talk about them, as well as to bring Mim and me up to date with some changes in her life.

About 25 years ago, when Mim and I became members of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago, Gladys was one of the first friends we made in the church. Gladys and her sister Alice, along with their husbands, were all very active members of the “Friendship Club” at Resurrection. Although the Friendship Club was essentially a seniors club at the church, the members of the Friendship Club were very friendly and welcoming to anyone who came to church.

Over the years, our friendship with Gladys has remained close through phone calls, letters, and occasional face-to-face visits in Chicago. The Friendship Club even took several trips to Wisconsin to visit with Mim and me.

A few years ago Gladys’ sister passed away. Their husbands had passed away several years before that. Now, Gladys is the only one left of the foursome. She still lives in her own home, but is unsure how much longer she can do that, primarily because she is nearly blind with macular degeneration. Despite the changes in her life over the past several years, Gladys maintains a very pleasant disposition. I’m inspired whenever I talk with her.

The Friendship Club visiting with us on our front porch during one of their annual day trips to Wisconsin for "Lunch with Mim and Marian."

The Friendship Club visiting with us on our front porch during one of their annual day trips to Wisconsin for “Lunch with Mim and Marian.” Alice and Gladys are 3rd and 4th from left.

As Gladys and I were talking on the phone a few weeks ago, she asked if I had given any consideration to having my books produced as “books on tape” for the blind. I was sorry to admit that I hadn’t even thought of that. But now I’ve been thinking about alternative ways of making books accessible to people with impaired vision. I started by checking out the “Text-to-Speech” option on my Kindle. I was surprised how well it worked. However, at least on my Kindle, it’s necessary to see the device well enough to control the starting and stopping of the reading. I’m not sure that giving a Kindle to Gladys is the best solution.

As I was thinking about this, I remembered a boss I had in the 1980s when I worked for Northwest Industries in Chicago. Allan volunteered as a reader at the Lighthouse for the Blind. Sometimes he recorded what he read. Other times he read face-to-face to someone who was eager to listen. I wish I could go and read my books to Gladys. But I know that’s not practical. A 270-mile round trip is a lot of time on the road, and a lot of gas, for an hour or two of reading.

But maybe I can be a little more sensitive to the needs of people closer to home. If I know of someone whose vision is no longer good enough to read, maybe I can find the time to go visit with them and read a little – either a story or two in one of my books, or better yet, another book that I haven’t read already so that we both will enjoy hearing a new story. Last year I went to see my Aunt Edith and I read to her a few times. We both really enjoyed those times together. Way back in 1986 when my mom lived with us in Chicago for several weeks before she passed away, I often read to her. Her favorite book (besides the Bible) at that time was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. We laughed together a lot as I read the story. I wonder who else might enjoy some reading time…

On the subject of reading a new story, I just received some “book stubs” for Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest from my publisher. A “book stub” is a plastic card, the size of a credit card, that contains a code that allows you to download one copy of the book in whatever e-book format you prefer (Kindle, Nook, iPad.). If you’d like a free copy of my book in e-book format, send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll send a book stub to you. (My supply is limited, so email me as soon as you can.)

You’ll make my day if you tell me that you’ll try to read at least some of the stories in my book to someone who cannot see well enough to read for themself. (But that’s not a requirement for getting a book stub – just ask me for it!)

Gladys Johnson

Gladys, one of the best kinds of friends –
a friend who inspires

I should have known better …

Marian at desk2Last Tuesday I did something really dumb. As a 65-year-old, I should have known better. The day started out fine. I spent the morning working on my computer in my home office. I was working on a mailing to promote my new book, Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest. I knew I just had the morning to work, so I got right to work and was very focused and efficient.

In the afternoon I had an eye doctor appointment in Madison. Although the drive should be about half an hour, Mim and I allowed an hour, anticipating road construction. We arrived 25 minutes early. Apparently, the clinic was ahead of schedule, so less than 10 minutes after I checked in, I was taken back to the exam room, where all the preliminary questions, testing, and eye drops were taken care of. Then I waited and waited and waited. After more than 90 minutes of waiting, I was moved to another exam room to wait a little longer. As a nice gesture, Mim and I were offered a cup of coffee, which we accepted. (I think that was the first dumb thing I did that day.) Finally the eye doctor came, examined my eyes, and said everything was looking good and I should come back in a year, unless I had any more flare-ups like I’d had a few months ago.

mocha freezeSo Mim and I left, just in time to hit the beginning of rush hour. We went to Staples to get some envelopes for my mailing, and then we drove to Costco. It was a classic hot, humid summer day. We were both craving a mocha freeze, one of Costco’s specialty drinks. They are so refreshing! We needed a few items that we always get at Costco anyway, so going home via Costco seemed like a smart idea, not the dumb one that it actually was. I knew I had already had a cup of coffee at the eye doctor, so another cup of caffeine would not be a good idea. But those mocha freezes are so good I couldn’t resist. We sipped on the mochas as we wandered through the store.

We made one more quick stop at a grocery store on our way home, and got home about 6:30. We skipped supper. We weren’t hungry because of all the samples we’d snacked on at Costco. I spent the next hour cleaning out my email inbox. Then I put on TV to just relax for a couple hours before going to bed.

By 10:00 I wasn’t very sleepy yet, but I went to bed anyway. I knew the alarm would go off at 5:00 a.m. That’s the time we need to give our resident her first pills of the day. It’s also the best time to go for a vigorous walk, our usual morning exercise routine.

By 11:00 p.m., I was really regretting my caffeine indulgences of the afternoon. I tried to make good use of my wide-awake time in bed. I prayed for Mim. I prayed for my brother Danny and his family. I prayed for all my nieces and nephews. I prayed for Maria, the woman in prison I wrote about a few weeks ago.

By midnight I told myself that if I wasn’t asleep by 12:30 I’d get up and read the novel I had started to read a few days ago. By 12:30 I got up and read until 3:00. By then I was beginning to get sleepy.

By 3:30 I was back in bed and playing some of my favorite hymns on the piano in my mind.

By 5:00 when the radio alarm clock came on, I had finally gotten to sleep, but I woke up enough to listen to the news. Then I got up. I decided to skip my morning walk. The heat index was already 86 degrees at 5:00 in the morning!

Then this amazing thing happened. Before starting to work on my mailing project again, I read from my devotional books. One of them is Sarah Young’s newest book, Jesus Today. In this book, she writes in the same style as her other book, Jesus Calling, writing as though Jesus is speaking directly to the reader. Listen to what I read that morning:

Jesus Today coverRemember Me on your bed; think of Me through the watches of the night. When you are wakeful during the night, thoughts can fly at you from all directions. Unless you take charge of them, you are likely to become anxious. Your best strategy is to think about Me during your night watches. Start communicating with Me about whatever is on your mind. Cast all your anxiety on Me because I care for you. I am taking care of you! This makes it possible for you to relax and rejoice in the shadow of My wings.

When you remember Me during the night, think about who I really am. Ponder My perfections: My Love, Joy, and Peace. Rejoice in My majesty, wisdom, grace, and mercy. Find comfort in My names: Shepherd, Savior, Immanuel, Prince of Peace. Be awed by My Power and Glory, for I am King of kings and Lord of lords. Thus you worship Me and enjoy My Presence. These thoughts of Me will clear your mind – helping you see things from My perspective – and refresh your entire being. (p. 188)

Next time I can’t sleep at night, I’ll still pray for everyone who comes to mind, but I’ll also try to think more about who God really is. I think I was getting on track with that when I was playing those favorite hymns on the piano in my mind. I guess I’ll do more of that.

Or, maybe I’ll learn not to drink more than one cup of caffeine in the afternoon. But if I succumb to the temptation of a mocha freeze, at least I know a better way to spend the wide-awake hours of the night.

Marian-Abbey faces bronze

Abbey agrees –
I should have known better, but at least I’ll know better for next time.