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Jesus came to Galilee … saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” – Mark 1:14-15 (NRSV)

This UCC devotional, written by the Rev. Vince Amlin, (link) is one I have already sent to my son who, after 9/11, was concerned with clean underwear and a charger for his phone, both given to him by store personnel; yes, GIVEN.  New York University set up free housing in north Central Park hotels for students affected, like my son (he lived 2 blocks east of the Twin Towers) and gave each $200 until they could get back into their apartment-dorms to dust (at least, I think he dusted). I’m grateful to be so cavalier about that fateful day now; I was in a panic and had three co-workers praying with me until we heard that my son was ok.

 

I judged him (though I should never judge another) in the days that followed. He had no classes. He could get to Hoboken to see his girlfriend. He could get to the library to study. He never went south of 14th Street to help with the cleanup.

 

I’m not one who believes that God micromanages us.  I have a hard time asking for a green light or a parking space, unless I’m really, really rushed.  I pray most mornings with a format of ‘praise, ask, thank’. I believe God asks us to make the best of whatever happens to us and I believe that God delights when we do! I’m sure God grieved with all those who touched the lives of those who died that day, terrorist or terrorized. I believe God grieved for the people who piloted planes into the World Trade Center Twin Towers as well as those who died helping others to get to safety.

 

 

I am grateful, and I’m sure God is, for all the people who helped find the survivors and clean up the mess.  I believe God grieved Bin Laden’s death before Bin Laden had a chance to see that hate is not the answer.

 

I wish my son had helped.  I’m not in my son’s skin and I don’t know what PTSD he had in the days afterward. I love my son. God loves my son. God loves me.

 

Will you pray with me, please?

Omnipresent Organizer,
Only thee keep the earth spinning on its axis around our sun. Only thee created it all, part and parcel.  Some people turn good; some turn bad; some are indifferent.  Thee delight, I believe, in those of us who do good things and who are good people and who think good thoughts, no matter how large or small.
Or am I anthropomorphizing?  I think not. I think thou are wonderful. Thee are beyond my imagination and thee are amazing!
Almighty Answerer,
I pray today for a day free of terrorism. I pray for my family, keep us safe if it be thy will. I pray the same for my friends. Lord, thee know I am underemployed and have little money. I pray thee will remind me to be the best job applier I can be so that I can land the job of our dreams, thy and mine. Thy will, not mine, be done. I pray for those who are sick. For those thee will heal, please do so quickly, if it be thy will. For those who will die, please bring them to thy glorious paradise quickly, so they don’t need to suffer — but thee know best and I’m sure sometimes that suffering can serve thy glorious purpose. I pray for those who are too cold in this northern hemisphere and too hot in the southern hemisphere. Climate change scares me a little, but I know thee’ve got it under control in a way I can’t understand.
And forgive me, please, Lord, for being judgmental. I know better; I’m still human, but I keep striving for progress, never claiming perfection.
Generous Giver,
Thank thee for my furnace which hasn’t seemed to stop running this morning of 6 degrees Fahrenheit. Thank thee for the possibility of jobs. Thank thee for the lovely bracelet Mary gave to me for my birthday with a cross and the word ‘blessed’ on it. Thank thee for the Fitbit my kids gave to me that reminds me to walk. Thank thee for all good things which come from heaven above. Thank thee for thy love. Lord, I love thee so much!

In Jesus’ almighty name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

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

© Melissa Pazen, 2019

Constant Creator,

You make all things new. Your loving energy imbues every piece of the universe, whether or not we humans consider it living.

You are amazing, beyond my comprehension!

 

Loving Lord,

I leave in three hours for a week-end retreat. While the focus is fellowship, help us to put you at the center. Help us to spend time glorifying your name and your works. Make this retreat, with a twenty-year history a revolutionary event.

 

Generous Giver,

All that we have comes from you. This computer, the internet, warm homes, people with whom we’re in relationships, nature, retreat centers, and the cars that get us there, to name a few. I am very grateful, Abba; thank you!

In Jesus’ powerful name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

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

© Melissa Pazen, 2019

God of sun and rain, God of calm and catastrophe,
Only you can heal our church, only you can heal our souls. You called the world into being; you were there before the beginning and you will be there long after the end. You seek in Holy Love to save us from aimlessness and sin. You are amazing!
Loving Lord,
I call you to be with us. Hold each of us close to you, support us with love, wrap your arms around us, let us cry if we must and help us to heal. Remove our anger and our doubt. I pray that, if it is your will, you will heal my church; that all may be one and that any conflict may be resolved: peacefully, fully and to your Glory. And, Lord, let me be a blessing. Let me be a peacemaker.

Almighty Architect,

We thank you for all that you have given us: millions of shades of green in the gardens, more than enough resources to sustain us, and people who strive to emulate you, who love with us and work with us.
I pray in Jesus’ mighty and loving name.
Amen.

 

To God be the Glory!

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

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

© Melissa Pazen, 2017

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.

SONY DSC

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,

Amen.

To God be all glory!

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

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

I have a friend who keeps a gratitude journal and aims for 100 items each day. As I prepare for Thanksgiving, I start to list the people and things for which I’m thankful. Then I realize the list will be too long, oh Lord! If I were to read everything into a Thanksgiving blessing, the food would be dreadfully cold and my guests would be out of patience by the time I’m done.

Cornucopia

Unimaginable One,

I come to you this morning knowing that I am poor and helpless. Only through you and your loving creating energy can I even breath, much less stand and clean and cook and prepare to welcome my family and friends tomorrow! You called the heavens and the earth into being, so long ago that we can only try to reconstruct how and when it happened. I praise you endlessly. You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

I pray today for joy and energy and patience, patience with myself, Steve, Thea, Adrienne, the dogs. I so want this Thanksgiving to be evidence of your love for us all, through me. I pray that you will continue to bless us, as you already have – to such a marvelous extent that the cornucopias of our lives are overflowing. I pray that you will remove me from the bondage of self, so that I may give without reservation.

I pray for those who are traveling, including Kate and Will, Chris and Margaret, Peggy and her family. I pray for those who will be alone by choice, hoping that at the last moment, if they want companionship that you will provide. I pray for those who will be alone not be choice; point them to my house, Lord, and let me lavish them with food and your love. I pray there will be enough chairs and enough room at the tables.

Generous and Glorious Giver,

You have granted us such bounty, of food and belongings and friends and family. I have so much more than I could ever need. Bless it all to your purpose. Thank you for dogs. Thank you for heat. Thank you for the turkey. Thank you for sight and taste and smell and hearing and feeling. Thank you for intuition. Thank you for all the people and things that would make this prayer go on for pages and days. It is all from you, everything I have and everything I am. I am incredibly grateful.

Jesus promised that if I ask in his name, it will be granted. And so, I call on Jesus’ mighty name.

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

Inspired Coaching, Melissa Pazen

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

 

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

… I sit quietly and look at this image:
jesus-reaching-in

And then I feel better.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
…A time to kill, and a time to heal

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

AP_FALL_BACK_TIMERecently, I’ve watched a lot of people deal with loved ones end of life (or the over it).  Today in the US, it’s “Return to God’s Time” as daylight savings time ended at 2 a.m.   (I wasn’t up to count THAT down.)  My garden is brown or frozen because it’s -3ªc or 20ªf outside!  All the lovely blooms are gone and the annuals are too, except for tarragon & rosemary that I haven’t harvested yet.

This all reminds me of the seasonality of all living things.  Rod McKuen called it ‘Seasons in the Son’.  Leslie Bricusse talked about the morning, noon and evening of one’s life in Fill the World with Love in the musical “Good-bye, Mr. Chips”.  I simply wax nostalgic.

I remember my women’s theology group (Monday Night Bible Study or MonNtBS as I irreverently named my e-Mail group), working through the book of Job.  I went into it thinking “God and the Devil playing a game with a man’s life… RIGHT!”  But here’s the thing, I came out of it with a six word answer to many of our theological musings.  “I am God and you’re not.”  

Will you pray with me please?

Everlasting Energy,

You named yourself to our ancestors, “I am”. I can only agree, “Yes, God, YOU ARE.”  Job asked why he was smited and covered with sores. You asked if he was present when you called the world into being and hung the sun and moon.  Of course, Job wasn’t.  But “YOU WERE/ARE/WILL BE”.  Merely the fact of your infinite nature brings me figuratively to my knees while my literal fingers are on this keyboard.  I adore you, God.  You are AMAZING!

Lover of Light,

Perhaps you inspired daylight savings time.  (Wait, did I SAY that?  Of course, YOU DID!).

Responsive Ruler,

Jesus told the disciples that we should ask in his name, that our joy be made full.  I rarely ask for miracles, though.  When my 92 year-old mother-in-law went to the hospital, I thought, “This could be the end.  She’s lived a long time.” Then when she was moved to a rehabilitation center, I thought “Ah, an easier transition to this continuum of care facility.  She’ll move on to the other assisted living centers.”  Now she is home.  I praise you!  Only you could make this happen!

Annamae with Savannah

Responder to our Requests,

YOU ARE.  You answer the desires of our hearts that we dare not articulate — sometimes.  Then there is Mary’s 95 year-old mother, who cannot live unassisted anymore and has been moved to her son’s house, after hospitalization, then skilled nursing care, then home.  She can’t make it without someone strong to lift her. I suspect she’ll either die eventually in another skilled care facility or have hospice care at her son’s house.  So what of her? What should I ask of you?

Mary is sad and harried.  The weight of this is heavy on her shoulders.  God, will you inspire her with your peace?  I pray of thee, surround Mary and her family with your love and a bit of joy through this dark time of the soul.  Remind them, especially my good, good friend that the clouds will lift as they have this bright morning.  That while we go through autumn and winter, that your energy and spirit are always willing to support us, to let us lean on you.

Is this what it will take to get Mary back to church, God?  She has suffered with the guilt of a divorce, but you always forgive the penitent. I know  you still yearn for her; crave her attention.  You want her to worship YOU, not a religious rule that blocks her ability to seek you.  Put it on her heart at just the right time, to go to Mass or a Worship Service.  In your time, may this be done — not mine.  Remind her that communion in any form or any sense is bringing her soul to yours.  Let her commune with you and with other seekers of your kingdom.

baby-girl-handprint-footprint-vector-817335

Or perhaps, you will use her daughter’s new baby.  Remind Mary that the love is in that new life, too; that her relationship with her own granddaughter and daughter is equally important as her relationship with her mother.  Remind Mary to spend less time on worry and more time on “OPTIMISM” and peace and rest and self-care.  If she runs out of energy to replenish her own body, remind her that she must rebuild herself before she can build or rebuild others, I pray of thee, God.

Yet not my will, but yours, God.  Not in my time, but yours. Not to my glory, but to you be the glory,

Generous Giver,

Thank you for the mouse and the red underscores that help me to correct my mistakes.  Thank you for the ability to confess and apologize when I sin.  Thank you for Samantha Madhosingh’s month of gratitude.  Thank you for Jean Stone who taught me about gratitude even during those dark nights of the soul.  Thank you for the internet.  Thank you for daylong retreats and Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel and Rev. Merlyn Lawrence and for all the Sisters, Saints & Sinners who went with me.  Thank you for living my life with me and letting me live it for you.  Let me live to bring your kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven.  Let me live according to your will and to love, and to love and to love.

I dare to pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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!

Today is Oct. 25, 2013.  This morning’s Devotional, written be Rev. Kenneth Samuel, is based on

“But to obtain these gifts, you need more than faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough.  For then you must learn to know God better and discover what God wants you to do.” – 2 Peter 1:5

faith_works_landscape

 

The devotional addresses the need for practices based on one’s principles (the values, not the school administrator!)  Mentioned is Congress and their deadlock and how it doesn’t serve ANYone.  Will you pray with me, please?

Practical Peace,

You are!  You called yourself “I AM” when you spoke with our ancestors.  Only you have the power and the peace.  You are glorious and graceful!  Only you are worthy of my worship.  Amazing!

Loving Light,

This morning I pray for all the leaders of government – not only in my country but in all countries.  Help them to remember they have been put in power not for their benefit but for the benefit of all people, for the common GOOD.  Remind them that you transcend religion – that worshiping you are more important than the way in which we pray or the name we give you.  Common to all these is the love of you and one another, the emptying/humbling of oneself, the need to pray/meditate.  Remind them that you have the power and without you, nothing can be done.

Congress

Again, I remember people who have asked for prayer – young and old, healthy and ill, starting life or nearing its end on this earth.  Thea, Susan, Blair, our Pastoral Search Team, Marsha and Mike, Mary, her mother & her family, my own self.  I pray for Steve and for my relationship with him.   And being a mere mortal, I know I remember fewer names than requests.

Incredible Imagineer,

You also gave us gratitude, along with so many gifts.  I am grateful.  Thank you.

And I dare to pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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!

My sweet/feisty mother-in law was hospitalized on Tuesday.  She pressed her medic-alert bracelet because her legs hurt too much to get out of bed.  Since arriving at Glenbrook Hospital, she’s been seen by a wonderful Internist, Colleen Nugent, MD who is finding enough that she’s told me she is uncomfortable discharging Annamae to her own home.  We’ve thanked God regularly for Annamae making it to age 92 and continuing to be able to live independently and alone, knowing this could only happen by God’s hand.

This woman became a nurse and was part of the Women’s Army Corps, mending soldiers in Texas during World War II.  With a heart of gold and a mouth like Roz Russell, she gets things done.  She is the dowager of the DeCaluwe/Hitchens family these days, having lived a long time.

That's Annamae, front & center (almost).  Seated to the right of the groom.

That’s Annamae, front & center (almost), seated to the right of the groom.

I’ve just gotten off the phone with Annamae who reports that she’s angry and she threw newspapers and things around her room.  Her niece, Pat (amazingly the volunteer coordinator at Glenbrook), was summoned and suggested Annamae behave herself.  (I spoke with Pat who confirmed this.)

Will you pray with me, please?

Almighty Architect,

You are amazing!  While many of your creations live only a few years, you designed this woman with such good ‘stuff’ that she’s still in pretty good shape at 92.  I know your plan will be fulfilled. Annamae, through her actions, will demonstrate whether or not she should be living alone. If she is meant to go home, let her behave nicely in the hospital.  If it’s time for other living arrangements, let her not act too out of control.

Loving Lord,

You already have helped us all prepare.  If it’s your will, let Steve & me find a way to accommodate her in our home.  I know Steve isn’t eager for this, but I know you can inspire him to understand and agree.  And if Annamae can continue to live independently with help, let us find someone who will care well for her, ethically and generously.  I pray that if it’s time Annamae will move easily to assisted living and we’ll work the situation  out to your glory.  Lord, I pray you’ll be the medication that cures her current complaints and relieve the pain Annamae has in her legs that keep her from walking.  Lord, I pray that you’ll help her with confusion/lucidity so that she’s comfortable emotionally wherever she ends up.  She has said so many times that she doesn’t want to move from her condo.  If it’s time, we need your grace to find the words that will help her to accept the situation.

Annamae with Savannah, her great niece, sitting on Annamae’s walker (making the DeCaluwe Thanksgiving Day Parade).

Generous  Giver,

Thank you for smart & patient medical staff members.  Thank you for hospitals with private rooms that are lovely.  Thank you for beds that can be raised or lowered to make an older lady close to comfortable and get her to the proper height to rise and stand.  Thank you for medicines.  Thank you for family, especially Annamae’s nephew, Joe and niece, Pat.  They cared for their own mother, they care for their father and now, through the accident of proximity, they do many things for Annamae.  Thank you for medicare and insurance to pay the bills.  Thank you for veterans’ benefits to care for a woman who worked through WWII.  Thank you for quick wit and sarcasm; thank you for Annamae.  I am grateful.  Lord, I love you so much!

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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; live authentically; laugh frequently!

The 5/22 Stillspeaking Daily Devotional from the UCC was written by Rev./Prof. Mary Luti.  As I finished reading it, I was in tears.  It took me 18 minutes to stop while praying the following.  If you haven’t read it, click the link above.  It’s among the most beautiful!

God of Wind and Quietude,

I don’t understand how you can be both, but I trust you are.

Moore, Oklahoma Tornado on Ground

God of Chaos and Order,

I can’t fathom where I would begin in a catastrophe like Oklahoma’s, but I trust you do.

God of Creation and Destruction,

I can’t imagine the purpose of this horrific situation, but I know you’re there, and I trust that my task is to begin anew and every moment I need it, to rest in your arms – crying, planning, lauding, thanking.

God of Faith, Hope and Love,

I remember the words of the TV ad from the 1960’s, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

moore-ok-tornado-prayer-2

Ever-present Energy,

I bring this mess in Moore, Oklahoma to you and I place it at your feet. I don’t have the power alone to resolve it. Indeed Lord, no human nor group of humans have the power alone.  I praise you, Lord, because you do.

Remind me to pray without ceasing today.  Remind me to cling to you, for I will be better off with your loving arm around my shoulder than anywhere without you.  Remind me to hope today, because up until now, bad has always gotten better when I prayed and planned and practiced patience, then put my shoulder to the load as I put on the yoke with you.  Remind me today to love, for there’s really no other reason for me to be here.

Generous Grace,

It may not feel like much sometimes, but as long as we still are living, we have an incredible gift from you.  I’m grateful.  The house may be gone, but if someone survived and someone else can hold that person, cling to that person, take and offer support, each has an incredible gift from you.  If clean water, a change of underwear, a cell phone, a nourishing meal is brought in by “the helpers” (as Fred Rogers’ mother would say), all will be well again eventually.

moore-ok-tornado-work

That was a POWERFUL wind.  And no, I don’t think you were angry at ANYONE nor sent tornadoes to punish ANYONE.  I think bad things happen and it’s up to you and me to pull up our bootstraps or our ‘big-girl panties” and get to work to bring your kingdom, to end evil, to create a world filled with love that can overcome anything, even death.  So, God of all Good Things, thank you.  Thank you for my life.  Thank you for a few extra dollars to send to the non-profits that will help.  Thank you for FEMA, even though I can’t fix it all by itself.  Thank you for the calm, beyond the  storm.  Lord, I just love you so much!

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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!

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