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Today’s Stillspeaking Devotional, written by Donna Schaper, is called “Pointsettias”.  As I was reading, the phrase I’m using for the title jumped out at me and I hurried here to paste it and start my notes for my prayer.  And then, to have integrity, I read and reread the entire devotional. 

“Substituting details for depth” …is that when I buy so many Christmas presents for someone instead of spending time with him? …is that when I criticize the grammar and punctuation instead of lavishing in the thoughts behind the writing? …do I decorate for Christmas instead of contemplating the possibility of Jesus coming as a human and changing the world?

What does “prepare for the glory of the Lord by fixing the universe, despite itself” mean? I long to leave the world better than it was when I arrived, yet I have a bit of trouble realizing that sometimes I need to be ‘accepted the things I cannot change’, in Bonhoeffer’s words. I’m good at attempts to improve the large social ills and need to keep working on keeping my side of the street clean in my closest relationships.  Mindfulness, sometimes a difficult practice to keep in place.  

Quinn Caldwell’s All I Really Want has been a wonderful source of contemplation last advent and this. 

Unimaginable One,

I come to humble myself and to worship you, shouting your praises internally while be quiet externally. Your name should echo throughout the universe and I praise you, adore you. You are the almighty, the all mighty, and I am but one of your creations. Yet, you know me inside out. You know my name and speak to me individually through little bursts of inspiration. You are amazing!

Indescribable God

Loving Lord,

Today, I ask that you will heal Steve’s bruises from his fall. He’s feeling better yet plans to stay off the bruised leg today and that’s a little difficult for me to accept (even though I can’t change it). Thank you for the chance that he might work Saturday to make up the hours. 

I ask for the ability to relax my own aching neck and head today. I try to avoid pain medication for fear it will harm my kidneys and/or lose its effectiveness.


Super-giving Source,

Thank you for advent meditation opportunities like the one I enjoyed last night. Thank you for Susan, who loves me dearly. Thank you for my faith community who are extensions of family for me. Thank you for a brain to think. I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ name,


To God be all glory!

Love always,

Melissa Pazen, MSW


39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

Astonishing Architect,

bright mountains winterOnly you can bring a morning of exquisite sunshine to a bleak mid-wintery kind of day.  You are the energy and creative force of the universe. You are the word, and the word is love. I fall to my figurative knees in front of you, as I type these words to you. You are more than I could ever imagine.

Loving Light,

dawn of creationI bring my brother, Jim, to you this morning. I thank you for his new job. I pray you will remind him in the darkest of times to lean on your perfect strength and let you guide him. Help him to know that you control all things and that the job for us poor mortals is to appreciate the beauty of how you make all things fit together. Help Jim to relax and look for good, look for the love in Helen’s eye and the good intention in Angela’s movements. Let Jim know that a hug goes a long way for all of us.  Remind him to be loving and kind… even to try it, just for today. And, Lord, let Jim know that we love him.  We simply do.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for a Christmas that was indeed ‘dayenu’, it would have been enough just to have my children with me. It would have been enough just to have Steve’s loving attempts at presents to please me. It would have been enough to make them happy with gifts you inspired me to bestow on them. And yet, You – Lord of all land and below and above – You saw to it that we enjoyed one another’s company and that I got to have my children, now numbering three, tucked in their beds here on Christmas Eve. Thank you for helping me, over the years, to let go of my expectations for great times and find the beauty in the good times, because they become great when viewed in the proper way through the proper lens with the proper focus. Thank you and thank you again. Lord, I love you so much.

Jesus told us that if we would ask in his name, we would receive, that our joy be made full.  And so I ask in Jesus’ name,


Today’s StillSpeaking Devotional touches me deeply, because I love to turn out all the lights except on my Christmas tree, then sit and be with God.  Everywhere I can today, I’m quoting Quinn Caldwell:

The Wise Men would never have been able to see that star if they’d been standing in the parking lot of a 24-hour Wal-Mart. 

BowerBirdI believe the American public (perhaps everyone, but I only know the US culture) has a love affair with shiny, pretty things.  We’re like bowerbirds; the male of this pair builds the nest and includes bits of anything that shines in order to attract the female.  Babies stare at lights. I believe all of us are attracted to them.

But overly bright light hurts our eyes.  I remember the warning when an eclipse was coming, “don’t look directly at the sun, you’ll burn your eyes!”  Is that true?  I don’t know; but I know that if I look at bright lights too long I continue to see them for a long time, when I close my eyes.  And I’m not fond of blinking lights, either.  They bother me and if they’re really bad, trigger a migraine.

IMG_4251A few little candles set a beautiful mood, as do the low wattage bulbs on my tree.  And without strong glitz as marquee lights bidding for my attention, I can achieve calm bliss.  And that’s often when God creeps quietly to my side and lays an arm around my shoulders.  I feel God’s peace.  I recognize God’s inspirations for me.

Will you pray with me, please?


Bright Builder,

You created the dark and the light.  Only you could have ‘hung the moon’ and the sun. You show us that too much light can be a decoy from the true light. You are unimaginable. You are. You are amazing!


Loving Light,

Lead us to the right amount of light.  Show us that when we are in darkness, we still can be strong, calm, confident and that by extinguishing the input from one of our senses, we can focus on those sixth sense phenomena – intuition, imagination, meditation, sitting humbly in your presence and feeling your invisible touch, your non-touch.

I bring to you all people; we need your light today.  I need light to complete my house cleaning; finding the dust and loading the laundry.  I need light to tell if the cookies I am baking are just the right shade at the edges.  I need a light that illuminates, not one that blinds me to your presence. Tomorrow, I will spend my entire day celebrating the light that you have sent to the world, Jesus.  Though I sit and meditate in your darkness, you guide me with Jesus’ light.  You show me the way through what I know of him.  Grant me the grace to be able to live humbly, lovingly, wisely, justly, mercifully; as Jesus did while a human on earth.


Generous Giver,

I look out the window and see snow drifting to earth while the sky is bright enough to see and appreciate it.  I feel the warmth from the furnace in my home. I smell the ginger and bayberry scents of the season.  I hear the beautiful music, both old and new, that brings my heart to the center.  That center is where I find you, Lord.  Thank you for all these comforts.  Thank you for the love you continue to create on this earth.  Thank you for my life.  Lord, I love you so much.

In Jesus’ name,


To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

photo-chicago-men-pushing-car-in-a-snowstorm-1930Almighty Architect,

You craft the weather and show us beauty. You grant us the wisdom to know when to travel and when not to travel. You are amazing!


Gracious God,

Guide Susan and Bill, and all who get into cars, as they travel to spend time with loved ones during this Christmas season. Keep the roads as clear as you can, but more importantly, remind all that in winter weather a bag of kitty litter, a shovel and a soft touch on both accelerator & brakes is the true answer. Remind us that rocking works when nothing else does, but if you can, Lord, keep us from getting stuck.  Keep us safe from harm.

lumieresLoving Lord,

The car, the music or stories, the conversation, the warmth and the love — all comes from you. As I sit at a computer and type to the internet, I realize we have such “rich peoples’ problems.” I am grateful that my sorrows are so small while your gifts are great. We are grateful for all, Lord and we love you so much.


In Jesus’ name,


To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Again today, I think of my friend and pray for her.

Holy, Holy, Holy,

Lord God almighty, I praise your creation.  I don’t understand massacres nor your reason for leaving me in my current position.  Your creation of angels, like Susan, is a glorious mystery to me.  You send her to love me, to inspire me, to give me strength, to give me glimpses of you.  Amazing!

God Almighty,

I pray today for Susan and Sarah.  Grant them your grace to be together and enjoy one another.  Let Susan be a loving mother for Sarah and let Sarah be an adult who can care for herself and others.  Let them care for one another as they each would for a small helpless infant who turned out to be the Prince of Peace.


Bless Steve and let him know how much I love him and how much I appreciate him.  I pray for your world.  Stop the hating by filling us all with your love.  Stop the killing by reminding us all of the gift of life that you gave us in Jesus, so many years ago.

Incredible Imagineer,

You gave us all things possible and impossible.  May my gratitude show like a beacon of your light, life and laughter.  I love you so much.


Through Jesus, I pray


To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2012

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

It’s Advent in the Christian calendar.  At my office today, there is a holiday feast planned for lunch.  I made cookies as my offering.  I had to plan ahead to be certain I had all the ingredients (I THOUGHT I had pecans at home…  so I should have planned earlier & checked the cupboard!).

Omniscient One,

You know the seasons and you know our hearts.  Only you have perfect knowledge and understanding of this universe — because you are the energy that creates it.  You probably don’t need to plan ahead, but as a mere mortal and one of your creatures, I sure do!  Amazing!  I fall to my knees as I type this in your presence.  I worship you!

Parent of Planning,

Remind me to think of what must be done today in order to be ready — for tomorrow, for Christmas, for heaven, for eternity.  Help me to be mindful & careful in what I do.  Remind me to be loving and to keep the humble heart of the servant.  I pray of thee, too, Lord, that you will grant me the hope of expectations of glorious things to come.  I thank you in advance for Christmas; when your gift to humanity was a living example of your love and your ways.  Help me to be ready to receive this gift.

Author of All,

The human ability to think comes from you.  Thank you.  The human ability to plan comes from you.  Thank you.  And even my forgetfulness is a gift from you, from your sacred sense of humor or your willing of whimsy.  Thank you.  I am grateful and I love you so much!

Through Jesus, I pray,


Melissa Pazen © 2012

Live inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

I remember a year when my children were small, hearing someone on the radio talk about gifts.  It is not meant to be a requirement, but a privilege.  It is to be something based on caring so much for the other that there is a need for a visible symbol of that invisible truth.

When my children were young, we made holiday gifts and had good fun deciding who would be the recipients.  One year it was 3” disks of wood on which they painted pictures. Another year it was small cedar blocks to hang on the tree or in the closet.  It felt good and brought on the spirit of the holidays.

Creative Energy,

Only you could begin the joy of giving.  You gave us everything we have and love us so much that you continue to wastefully pour blessings upon us.  Amazing!

Lover of Life,

I bring my brothers and  sisters in Christ to you today.  Bless them for the gifts they continually lavish upon one another and on me: physical, ‘logical’, visible, invisible, tangible and abstract.  All are beyond value!  Remind them that the ability to making someone else feel happy is one of your best gifts to us.  As we approach the commemoration of the day you gave Jesus to humanity, grant us the willingness to serve others and the desire to please others.  And grant us the grace and maturity to have no desire for anything in return.

Generous Giver,

I thank you for little ornaments filled with memories.  I thank you for my children.  I thank you for the community of the faithful, those who have welcomed me extravagantly and love me abundantly.  Lord, I love you so much!

In Jesus’ name,


To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2012

Live inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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June 2020

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