“…you are the witnesses of these things…”

Today I sat and reviewed the past two weeks of Lent. Hard to believe it has been 15 days already! I re-read my Gratitude Journal. It is amazing how my words have changed, and yet my prayers are still directed towards the same goals! My goals? “To rekindle and return to the life I led that was far more faithful in the past. To be more simple and quiet. Being centered on God’s word, and to wean myself off social media.” Those were taken right out of my journal. I find it interesting that this Lent has been so instructive, and at the same time, has kept me striving to become better and better, in pursuit of the goals I set for Great Lent 15 days ago.

The impact of giving things up, for me, has been to add so many other, and far more fruitful, habits. It is nice to have a silent home most of the day. It is nice to not worry about the most recent posting or status of someone on Facebook. Guess what? Millions and millions of people exist quite happily with no social media accounts. Funnily enough, people who make their money on social media usually do not use it for themselves, and severely limit it for their own children. I wonder what they know? Perhaps they understand that those platforms greatly invade our privacy, and that too much interaction on media platforms is not healthy for our minds or our psyches.

“…you are the witnesses of these things…” Luke 24: 46-48

We see so much happening around us. We hear so much. There is sometimes just too much input. We need to take a break, away from the world. I love that Spring is approaching and we can slowly see the sun more often and longer, and that the skies are an incredible shade of blue. Soon, plants will begin emerging (it may take awhile up here – we have over 7-feet of snow on our front yard!) and birds will be singing. I envision times with family, away from the crowds. I cannot wait to hang out with my husband while he chases those elusive salmon. And I sit with him, as he struggles with his gear, on the quiet of a river bank. I am in the quiet of nature and am often overwhelmed by the beauty around me. I can be there in mere minutes, from where I live, and not hear another human or any sound that is not from nature. And it fills my soul.

I know that I am growing and that this Lenten study is helping me to grow. I am relying on my morning prayer time to center my days, rather than the latest status or posting on social media. I am reading the Bible every day. I am ingesting the Word of God for His people and am learning more and more. I am feeling a warmth and love, a buoyancy in my heart, that I did not have before this. Reading the Psalms every day has lifted my spirit more than I ever thought it would. And I feel blessed. So very blessed.

Sometimes we can allow depression to get the better of us. I know I have. It is my first full winter in Alaska, when sunshine was not seen for months, and we have had weeks and weeks of daily snowfall. I never fully understood the effect of darkness on the psyche. I happily chew my Vitamin D3s every day, but I can assure you, being able to open your drapes and see sunlight is amazing for your mind! But I allowed depression to affect my daily routine. I became despondent in the fact that I was not hopeless, but in the definition of despondent, I do believe I lacked courage. Courage to face the things that were/are lacking in myself. Things that need to go, or things that need to be added. Lent is a blessed time we are given to allow us to dig in and make these changes. I know that for me, even in my “gratitude” journal, I have been able to note the things that need to go, or things that need to be faced and dealt with. I am still nowhere near where I should be. But I faced these things. I wrote them down. I decorated the pages! And I am chipping away at my many and myriad faults, trying to become a healthy and worthwhile Child of God. I know nothing I can do will make me worthy; my faith is a gift. My works do not guarantee a spot on the winning team, but I also know that works done with heaven in mind, and with salvation in mind for those I am working with or for, is loved by God. He appreciates our efforts. He loves our struggle. Read the Book of Job. That details struggles most of us could never imagine. But God rewards perseverance. He loves a heart that gives itself to Him alone. And I am learning more and more as I age, and as I persevere, that God’s choices for us are not the world’s choice for us.

Being “woken up” during Lent, to further work at our faith life, is such a blessing. We, as Christians, are not perfect; only forgiven. And it is a further blessing that each time we fall, the angels themselves are there to help us up again: “For God command His angels to guard all your ways. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12) I know my guardian angel has his hands so very full. But I also know that I can rest and trust in the Word of God for my life. And I am finding such a deep peace, even rest, residing in His Word for me. I may be depressed and have worries; we all have them, but I also know that God has totally surrounded me with His angels and His saints, protecting me. And sometimes, He protects me from myself. Which is probably where I need the most help. I know that turning off, and turning away from, the world, has helped immeasurably. God is so good; He brought this Lenten Study to my attention and in a moment, had me push all the right keys so I could be a part of it. His blessings sometimes blow me away!!

And on this, St. Patrick’s Day, may you always be blessed with faith, friends, and family!

“…you don’t like reading?”

Dont like readingI am a reader.  I am an avid reader.  My local library loves me!  I am constantly online, looking through reading lists, checking on my favorite authors, making lists of books to get my library to order for me, and reading.  Ha-Ha! I read – a lot. I went to the library on Friday and picked up 7 books waiting for me. I have already read 4 of them and it is only Wednesday.  There are more books waiting for me at the library!  It has become our Saturday morning errand – dropping books off and picking books up, at the local library.  Last Friday I actually had the car, so I was able to go to the library a day early; it totally messed up our Saturday! Ha-Ha!

EverybookIreadMy husband and I are becoming such old fuddy-duddies that we will go to bed NO LATER than 9:00pm, so we can lay in bed and read until at least 10:00pm every night.  And I mean EVERY night!  We hate being out late because we miss reading time.  And on rainy or snowy weekends, we cuddle up with our blankets on the couch or recliner and read.  We have chosen to watch less TV and read more.  Our youngest son, aged 15, thinks we’re a little nuts. He stays up longer than us, but comes into our room, chatting away about various things until he finally settles into bed himself.  It has become such a part of our lives, and helped our lives to be more quiet and still, that I have not felt like posting on my blog.  I would rather be reading.

LibrarybiggerthanAnd so, for now, I will blog when the mood strikes me.  It seems to me that so much of what I share somehow strikes an angry cord in people (not sure why they bother reading my blog if I do that to them) and I really don’t have all that much of an audience, so I think I will lay aside this blog for a bit.  Perhaps when I get back into it, I will have something important or worthwhile to share.

TomorrowIn the meantime, I will work on keeping our plants alive this summer and eating some home-grown fruits and vegetables, and I will work on my “goodreads” list, my library list and I am also investigating e-readers.  Trust me, as a die-hard book lover, that is saying something.  But I realize how much easier my library trips would be if I could do it all online.  Then we might just have to re-arrange our Saturday mornings!

Blessings, all. Happy Summer!

EagleRivertrail