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A Blue Rose

 

 

A friend recently shared this with me. It’s a great reminder to be on the lookout for opportunities to show kindness, be a blessing, or share God’s love with others.

The Story

Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and bleach. So, off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.””

Hey Buddy, what’s your name?

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly.

“Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”

“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered. “How old are you Denny?”

“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

“You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Answers from a dandelion.

Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him. I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, Blue Roses are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”

Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God’s garden.”

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.

A small gesture makes a world of difference.

May I suggest, the next time you see a Blue Rose, don’t turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say hello. Why? Because, by the grace of God, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion…live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest to God.

If this story blesses you today, please consider sharing it with others. People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Love to all,

Mimi

When is “too much”…too much?

 

Recently, while taking a shower, I had a big lightbulb moment…when I realized having too much of something may, in fact, simply be “too much.”

Let me explain.

Last year I asked Greg to replace the rather weak shower head in our master bath. It was adequate but that’s about it. I desired a really good spray where I could rinse off and feel squeaky clean.

A replacement shower head was ordered and in no time installed by the hubster. And boy was it great! Powerful, full coverage. Just a delight. It was so strong that you could often imagine your tight muscles totally relaxing under the additional water pressure.

But soon what I thought was delightful and perfect turned out to be painful and unwanted.

The new shower head was so strong that I found myself, hmm, how do I say this…having to cover up my front chest area while showering because those once-perceived strong points of water were instead like piercing darts to my more delicate areas. Ouch.

I could no longer face the shower head but had to have my back to it. And to add great insult, when at the dermatologist in January I had about 8 spots frozen. Within a few days they began to scab over and I couldn’t stand the strong pressure of water on those spots…most of which were on my back. So, I still couldn’t face the shower head and now I couldn’t turn my back to it either. I was miserable; something had to be done.

Time for a change.

Another replacement shower head was ordered and installed and can I just say…wow! The new one is everything we need without being more than we need or want. It allows plenty of water to get through but instead of feeling like I’m being stung by sharp points, the pressure is just right, like being in a soft rainstorm. Nothing hurts and I can once again face the shower head without having to protect myself. (wink-wink)

So, the question has been answered…

Yes, sometimes too much of a good thing is way too much.

What this means in our daily lives is we can enjoy great foods, but too much of those great foods hurts our health. We can love hard and enjoy doing for our kids and other family members, but too much of that and we smother them, possibly causing them to remain dependent on us rather than becoming independent.

How about with God…is too much ever too much? It all depends. My in-laws would say yes. In ignorance as excited new believers, they attended church every time the doors were open: for services, for prayer, for dinners, for special events, etc. But it caused them to miss their kids’ ballgames. The “too much” they were doing seemed good and right but they missed the balance of being able to love and serve God while also making time for family. It wasn’t one or the other; it could have been both.

I think the same can be true if we just simply feed ourselves from what God offers and never share what we gain. Becoming stronger in our faith walk is imperative but if we never use what we learn, if those good works talked about in Ephesians 2:10 never manifest then I wonder if instead of building strong spiritual muscles we have over-indulged and simply become fat lazy believers who have become more “I” focused.

Hey, I’m preaching to me here.

Feeling uncomfortable? Me, too. Today’s thoughts come from my own life. That shower head story coupled with our Bible study last night in Ephesians, really spoke to me about the good works God wants me to share with others.

We should never stop growing in Christ, never stop pursuing Him. We absolutely must become strong in the Word and strong in our relationship with our wonderful God and Savior. But that wonderful God who lives within us has also designed each one to show forth His glory as we do the good works He so thoughtfully planned for us to do.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

What are some of those good works God wants you to perform?

Mimi

Be nice.

That’s it in a nutshell.

No really, that’s it…BE NICE.

I found this sign online and realized simple as it was, it’s not practiced nearly enough. By me, by anyone. Some would say it takes no effort to be nice. But I have a feeling many others would say the opposite.

Why is it so hard to be nice?

The only answer I can come up with is that self gets in the way. What we want, when we want it. My way or the highway mentality.

Case in point. Last week I made a quick stop at Walmart. Really, only needed 5 things. Three were in the pharmacy and two in the grocery. So easy peasy.

Our Walmart has solo check-out lines in the garden center and in the middle of the front section, all with cashiers. Then there are two areas, one near each entrance/exit with lots of self-service registers. I love using them as it’s generally very quick.

Remember…I was in a hurry.

Being in a hurry was my issue, no one else’s. I was trying to jam too many errands into a one-hour timeframe. Big mistake.

After picking up my items from two opposite sides of the store, I purposely walked past the first set of self-service registers, opting instead for the ones at the other end, closer to my car. That was my second mistake.

None were working. In fact, the entire section was closed. WHAT? There were no signs posted so other people like me walked up to the registers only to see the out of service logo on the monitor. After looking at three different cash registers, I finally realized I was out of luck.

No problem (or so I thought).

No biggie, I just walked further on to the registers in the garden center which were packed with all those people who typically check their own items in the now non-working self-service section. After waiting five minutes and realizing the lines weren’t moving, I decided to walk ALL THE WAY BACK to the other end of the store to use the other self-check area. (The ones I purposely walked past ten minutes [or so it seemed] prior!)

Along the way, as I walked by the usually very busy single cash registers, I actually found one with a very short line. I chose that and got through quickly.

But at this point I was a little…hmmm, steamed shall we say. Quite possibly there was a little of it coming out of my ears. And to top it off, the cashier never greeted me and actually never said a word until I asked, not too politely, why the self-check area was closed. She mumbled a one-word response I didn’t understand at all.

As I walked away, my first thought was that she was rather surly and I wondered why she just couldn’t have been nicer. (And no, at that moment I didn’t at all think that I should have been nicer.)

But later…

The Holy Spirit spoke to me later, not about the nasty cashier but ABOUT ME. Yes, ABOUT ME. Of course, I immediately saw my biggest mistake. I was expecting a better attitude from a stranger and yet my attitude was the pits. Instead of wondering why she couldn’t be nicer, I should have been asking why I couldn’t be nicer.

Here’s what it takes.

No, it really doesn’t take much. It just means dying to self. Ugh. Really? Yes, really. It’s both that simple and that hard.

It means thinking about others. It means putting them ahead of you. It means rising above my own wrong motives, thoughts, and attitudes and considering someone other than myself.

My prayer.

Father, when others look at me or my actions, I want them to see you and not me. I want others to be impacted by your “wonderfulness.” I don’t want to be a stumbling block to someone else, that thing that interferes with them finding you. I ask you to continue working in me so the Christ in me outshines any of my sinful, selfish ways.

And I pray for that “surly” cashier, asking you to bless her with revelation of Who you are and how much you love her.

Mimi

Sometimes our to-do-list needs to wait.

Today I’m sharing a recent devotional posted on Our Daily Bread.

Because we live in a world that’s super-busy all the time, we can become so inwardly focused on our own to-do list, we may miss God’s gentle interruption asking us to do something on His behalf for someone else.

Read on and see if you can relate.

Scripture to Read

Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. Don’t accuse others of being guilty, and you will not be accused of being guilty. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. You will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you. (Luke 6:37-38)

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

I headed into the post office in a big hurry.

I had a number of things on my to-do list, but as I entered I was frustrated to find a long line backing up all the way to the door. “Hurry up and wait,” I muttered, glancing at my watch.

My hand was still on the door when an elderly stranger approached me. “I can’t get this copier to work,” he said, pointing to the machine behind us. “It took my money and I don’t know what to do.” Immediately I knew what God wanted me to do. I stepped out of line and was able to fix the problem in ten minutes.

The man thanked me and then left. As I turned to get back in line, it was gone. I walked straight to the service counter.

My experience that day reminds me of Jesus’s words:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

My wait seemed shorter because God interrupted my hurry. By turning my eyes to others’ needs and helping me give of my time, He gave me a gift. It’s a lesson I hope to remember, next time I look at my watch. —James Banks

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, all of the time I have is in Your hands, a gift from You. Please show me how to use it to bring glory and honor to You.

Reminder: Sometimes our to-do list needs to wait.

Warm hospitality greeted us in Murphy, North Carolina.

There are lots of ways to spend Memorial Day weekend. Watching parades, honoring our Vets, doing nothing at all, catching up on your recorded television programs, making up for lost sleep, taking a short trip, etc. And taking a short trip is just what we did.

Traveling with friends, we drove to Murphy, North Carolina to see some other friends who live in the Bear  Paw lake community where it is secluded, wooded, quiet, and absolutely lovely. The photos here don’t do it justice.

While there we took a boat ride, did a little walking, went to several potluck suppers, met lots of friendly people, and partook in a few naps as well. There’s just something about sleeping with windows open and the birds singing that lulls you to sleep…even in the middle of the day.

What made this particular adventure so much fun was that we were all so completely taken care of by our hosts John and Marie. We were welcomed with open arms and we left rested up, with precious memories, and tears in our eyes.

There was not a thing we needed to do or bring to make our stay wonderful. All was provided down to packets containing toothbrushes and toothpaste in case we had forgotten ours. While we were invited to help ourselves in the kitchen, we were also soon to find out that John and Marie wanted us to enjoy a relaxing get-away so they took care of all the meals from food prep to cooking to cleaning up afterwards. And Marie is quite the cook. I think we all ate a little too much of her delicious meals!

It had been awhile since I was pampered to such an extent. And while my first instinct was to insist I wanted to help, I realized John and Marie were giving us a gift: of hospitality and relaxation. So, I graciously accepted everything they did for us and enjoyed a wonderful three days with people I love.

The Bible has much to say about hospitality and caring for others. John and Marie were shining examples.

  1. Love others. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also area to love one another” (John 13:34).
  2. Put others first. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
  3. Work tirelessly on behalf of others. “And let us not grow weary of doing good…as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

Our Beautiful Hosts

It’s easy to be on the receiving end of hospitality, yet the giving end, though often joy-filled, can also be exhausting. But let’s rise to the Scriptural challenge to extend hospitality as we look for opportunities to serve others, to warmly invite them into our lives, to be willing to work without ceasing to meet their needs. And to show them the amazing, astounding love of Christ.

Mimi