Archives for category: Christianity

Bittle (13) resizeI have a beautiful friend from high school who pours her heart — and her recipes — out on her blog. You’ll see many wonderful articles at Read My Chicken Scratch, but there are two posts that I can’t recommend highly enough.

If you can, make the time to read these today. May they bless you as much as they have blessed (and challenged) me.

The first, Connect The Dots, talks about practical ways to support people when their loved ones are sick.

The second, Introducing: Josie, is the story of how my friend came to pray differently for a cherished daughter.

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Slipping in here to offer just one simple tip today: AmazonSmile.

If you haven’t heard, Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of most of your purchases to the charity of your choice. (My day job is at a non-profit. We’ve signed up for this program and already are seeing results — just from our supporters buying the things they normally would buy.)

It takes about 60 seconds to sign up and select your charity. Visit this page for details.

Does it get any easier to show love for your neighbors?

31daysoflovingyourneighbor

loving your online neighbor

You don’t have to be a trained researcher to notice the trend and see how comments can turn negative on social media — how they can rip and tear at a person. I know none of us would ever do that, ever forget that there is a person behind the pixels, but are we doing anything to prevent it?

The only way to fight the dark is to bring the light.

Are we doing that for our neighbors?

When we see the story about the car accident and read the disparaging comments do we just continue to scroll through our news feed or do we write a message of hope?

What are we contributing to the conversation?

Earlier this year I instituted a daily quota for myself — five positive interactions on Facebook and five on Twitter. On the days I stick to it, I hit the like button for everything from cute kid pictures to status updates from bestselling authors. I jot notes of sympathy and encouragement. I find posts from bloggers who have exposed bits of their souls, and I share their articles and praise their work.

It’s small, I know. But it is light.

And I have to believe every little bit helps.

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I’ve always been fascinated by prayers — I think because they really let you have a sacred glimpse inside a person’s soul. So, each Sunday during October I’ll share a prayer here and I’d love it if you would add your prayer as well.

This week we’ll focus on our physical neighborhood… the houses closest to ours.

Lord,

Thank you for my neighbors — the ones I know by name and the ones I’ve yet to form a relationship with. I don’t know what challenges they are facing behind those closed doors, but I pray that you would give them strength and courage and hope. And Lord? If there is anything my family and I can do to help, please guide us in sharing your never-ending love.

I ask that you bless each and every home on our street with joy and peace. Watch over all of us, Lord, and help us all.

Amen.

31daysoflovingyourneighbor

Dear readers, when I announced this 31-day project Lucy Alonzo wrote to me with her own thoughts on how we learn to love our neighbors. She is graciously allowing me to share them with you here…

It seems to me that the easiest way, and perhaps a necessary starting point, to learn how to love is by being loved. The best way is from a loving family. If we grow up surrounded by love, and particularly if we are told often that we are loved, and that God loves us, that is ideal — but but unfortunately very rare! Even with the best intentions, we parents tend to fall far short of the goal of nurturing our children that way. Fortunately many children who did not experience much love at home find some one else who fills that role, whether it is a neighbor, a relative, a teacher, a coach, a scout leader.

As I look back over my life (from my current age of 77), one experience of love stands out as most significant. When my youngest daughter was 4, I was having lots of problems, many of them due to choices I had made. One day a friend was visiting, with her 4-year-old son, and while the children played in the fenced yard, we were having coffee and conversation in the living room. We could hear their happy voices so we knew they were having fun. But then we heard water running in the kitchen for what seemed like longer than usual so we went to look. What an appalling mess they had made! They had brought earth from the flower beds onto the back steps landing to make a “garden.” Then they had tried to clean it up — but instead of using a broom, they tried a wet mop. Now, both well covered with mud, they were sitting on each side of the double kitchen sink with their legs in it, and muddy soap suds cascading across the kitchen floor. Well, the visit ended abruptly, and I worked on cleaning up my daughter and the mess she had made — and I did manage to be gentle with her, merely suggesting that if she ever found herself in a similar situation she should ask for my help sooner rather than later! It was while I was mopping the kitchen floor that I had an overwhelming experience — God my Heavenly Father was telling me very clearly that, just as I loved my daughter enough to clean up the huge mess she had made, He loved me and would help me clean up the mess I had been making of my life.

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