Rice Bowls, Thankfuls, & Devotionals

The kids came out of Sunday School today with RICE BOWLS!
I was so excited to see them - the exact same rice bowl donation banks that I used as a child through my church for raising money to provide food to orphaned children. I *lovelovelove* that our kids are now taking part in the same efforts! From their website: Ideas like giving, service, and philanthropy are intangible concepts, making them difficult for kids (and some adults…) to grasp and value. Rice Bowls is an easy, tangible way to bring these intangible concepts to life — and have fun to boot. Plus, you’re helping our Christian orphanages rescue, love, educate, and feed children at the same time. Will & Sis were ready to hit up our crystal change vase [most people have a change cup, but we got over 30 crystal bowls & vases for our wedding, so we have a change "vahz" :-P] as soon as we walked back in the door. I've got some pretty major cleaning to do around here in the next week or so to get ready for holiday d├ęcor, so I told the kids I'd pay them money toward their rice bowls for them to help me out. (They're both already vying for the vacuum. :-D)

Today's Gratitude Tree leaves: Will wrote that he's thankful for his "Cars 2 DVD" that he saved up for, waited with bated breath on, & excitedly purchased yesterday. Annelise wrote that she was thankful for "Bonnie snuggles". :-)

It's been ages since I shared some snippets from the devotionals I've read that have stuck with me, so how about now? :-) I've subbed to a free new service called goTandem and am really enjoying it. (I do the emails.) I value the honest commiseration of the stories, and even in the verses I've read many times over, I like getting new focus from the commentary.

Your Strength
The hardest thing of all is moving on. Trying to just enjoy life again. So how do you keep going?
Nehemiah 8:10
"Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!"
The joy of the Lord is your strength!

Fly-Away Day
By Ellen

I’m tired today—on the verge of tears. It’s not any one thing, it’s everything. My two-year-old daughter and I butted heads all afternoon. My husband has had to work late every night for the past two weeks. My friend had a baby today. It’s a boy. I’m happy for her but can’t help thinking about the son I lost in a late miscarriage earlier this year.
When I get to this raw, emotional place, I want so badly for someone to pull me out of it. I want someone to say just the right word or hold me in just the right way. No one can. It’s a lonely feeling.
While I want someone to be able to make it better, I also know that if anyone tries to make it better, I’ll be angry. Sort of a lose-lose for my husband & friends.
When I feel this kind of self-imposed loneliness, music helps—a melody and words that touch something familiar so that I feel understood. I think music works because it makes me feel like I’m not alone but it doesn’t expect me to feel better. It just empathizes.
There’s a Psalm that does that for me, too. In his anguish, David writes in
Psalm 55:6-7, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.”

God's Hands
God never promised anyone a perfect life. That's just not how it works--you know that. But God did promise that, no matter what, He's not leaving.
Psalm 37:23-24
23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the LORD holds them by the hand.
God's here to stay and He won't let you fall.

Do you ever think that asking God for something makes you sound whiney? Well, here's the truth.
Psalm 50:14-15
14 "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
15 Then call on me when you are in trouble,
and I will rescue you,
and you will give me glory."
Your prayers give God glory. So ask away!

What to Do?
We've all felt angry, irrational, fearful, controlling or resentful. The question is: What do we do with those feelings? How about a Psalm? Here's Psalm 91. Take a listen.
Psalm 91:1-7
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the LORD:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
God's truth can disinfect your baggage.