Archive for April, 2014

Near my home, there is a lake surrounded by an incredible meandering walking and biking trail. Trees and wildlife are in abundance and restful swinging benches overlook the water at many junctures.

Each season presents its unique breathtaking colors and scents. The last few weeks, have brought a sense of awakening and new hope as I’ve watched the pussy willows pop. I can smell the grass as it begins to show green through brown.

In the summer, when the wind is at bay, the lake is like a huge sheet of glass. Anglers sit patiently in their rowboats near the shores in anticipation of snaring their next bass, crappie, or sunfish. Wildflowers freely grow on the banks and bloom from May through August.

Fall 3

Autumn is my favorite time to walk the trail. On a sunny fall day, there is no better place to enjoy God’s spectacular beauty as displayed in His creation. The colors range from the reds and browns of the oak leaves to the golden hues of the poplar, elm, and wild grapevine leaves. Sumac, which is barely noticeable in the spring and summer, bursts into fire-like flames of red, gold, and orange. The air is pungent with a rich earthy smell of nature about to die once again.

The lake attracts the hardiest of Minnesota residents in the winter. They dress in several layers of insulated clothing and set up tents on the frozen water to fish through holes they have drilled in the ice. Some winters the ice can be as much as three feet deep. After a fresh snowfall, the trail is a velvety white wonderland.

Winter 2

Life is on hold whenever I walk through this glorious place. However, even as I breathe in every sight, sound, and scent of the seasons, I am keenly aware that, at any moment, Minnesota weather can suddenly change without warning. How reminiscent this is of my life. For a season, I can experience amazing joy, hope, and serenity. Then suddenly, without warning, a circumstance brings an unwelcome chill, a dark shadow.

Those of us who live with someone who is chronically mentally or physically ill know that, at any moment, the scene can change from sunny and peaceful to dark and desperate. There will always be less than perfect situations just around the bend, but why should we let that rob us of our present joy?

Much like my coveted walk around the lake, when I bring every thought captive to the beauty before me, I must learn to guard my heart against dreaded future possibilities. I must endeavor to experience fully my present joy and not borrow trouble from tomorrow.

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34


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As a child, you may remember receiving an ice cream cone on a sweltering summer day. ice cream conesJumping up and down in excitement with the other children, you probably shouted “me first,” anticipating the sweet pleasure of a refreshing treat.

Perhaps, you recall anxiously waiting to be chosen for a baseball team at recess. The two captains took turns picking their favorites. Competition was fierce and they each wanted to get the strongest athletes for their team. To attract attention, you vigorously waved your arms and screamed, “Pick me, pick me, “I’m a good hitter, I’m a fast runner.”

“Me first” thinking is typical for a child. “Others first” comes later with maturity.

Strangely though as I matured, “me first” did a total switch on me. It rapidly turned into doing the hard stuff — the stuff for which no one waved their arms and jumped up and down yelling “me first.”

I wish I could say that when my babies cried to be fed in the night I always turned to my husband and said “me first.”

Nor, have I always wanted to say “me first” when a friend needed to be driven to an appointment or was without a babysitter for her children.

Surely, I cannot tell you that I always considered my own faults (“me first”) before finding fault in others and I have often given advice freely without heeding it myself first.

On the other hand, I sometimes find “me first” thinking to be entirely appropriate and even wise…

First responders are taught “me first” safety rules. They learn that when they assist accident victims, they must first check the scene to determine if it is safe for them to enter. Mamed responders are of no help to victims.

Young mothers must take care of themselves first so they can meet the needs of their children. As a seventy-two year old grandmother raising an energetic teenager, I tire easily. Just yesterday, I had to say “me first” and take a nap rather than going to the mall.

“Me first” thinking can have both positive and negative implications. Nevertheless, what is most meaningful to me is when my Creator beckons me each morning and says, “ME FIRST.”

“But, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

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