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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.

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!

This morning I found myself singing “For the beauty of the earth”:
  
flowers
For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
 
Refrain:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
this our joyful hymn of praise.
For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flow’r
Sun and Moon and stars of light
 
Refrain
For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child.
Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Refrain
For each perfect gift of Thine
To our race so freely given.
Graces human and divine
Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n.
Refrain
For thy church that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.
Refrain
 
Pretty good, huh? 
 
As I looked up the lyrics, I found that it is “a hymn for ordinary time”. While I’ve seen the phrase previously, I wondered what is meant by it so I looked it up.  It means not a specific season like Lent or Advent.  Most of our lives is spend in ordinary time, yet ordinary doesn’t begin to reflect what it means.
  
Always Almighty,
You are the source of the seasons and of ordinary time.  Yet, this creation of yours is far from ordinary.  Only you could have made so many places creatures and let them change and grow and flourish.  And that’s how you made us.  Amazing!
Everloving Energy,
I pray for Amy and I thank you for the improvements.  Your healing and your strength and your love are evident, especially in the outpouring of concern by all who know Amy. Amy is your true and faithful servant as are those who surround her with their love and prayers.
I bring Susan to you, put your hand on her back and make it feel better, please. She lives for you, Lord, to show your graciousness.  Whenever she cannot get out of the house, you lose an opportunity for others to see this.  That may sound manipulative, but I don’t mean it that way…  it’s merely fact.
I bring Linda and Mike to you.  They love Sandman, he is their own true dog.  Ease his pain and let them enjoy his golden days.
Thank you for Thea’s clean bill of health.  Keep the nasty cancer away and let her recuperate fully.
Quote-Contemplate-Beauty-Earth-Reserves-Rachel-Carson
Serene Source,
Thank you for sunshine and sprouting seeds that I can later plant outside for food.  Thank you for days of leisure and days of work.  Thank you for the beauty of the earth.  Thank you for my life.  I love you so much!
In Jesus’ name, I pray,
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!

I’ve just read this:

Dear Family and Friends,

I have GOOD NEWS today!  How joyful I am to e-mail good news about Amy!  This is the first day in 19 days that Doug and I have not gone to the hospital.  Paula and Julie felt that we needed a rest and Paula took off from school and went for us.  She just called and said this is the best day in 3 weeks!  Amy does have strep throat and pneumonia but it is under control with antibiotics. The Ventilation tube is out and her voice is weak but she is sitting up in a chair and asking Paula questions!  She wanted to know where the People Magazines were, where are all the cards Mom always brings and Where are Mom and Dad?  They must be out in the hall! Also Asked for her Pepsi and Paula said that she couldn’t have it yet but she could put some on her lips.  Amy said that she would like that!  She knew that Julie had gone home to take care of her family.  She may be in ICU one more day.  The goal is to get her on 7th floor to rehab floor.  

hands make hearts

We know that we have to be cautious about this turn around but the Lord is answering our prayers. Please all of you continue to pray for AMY JOY.  Thank you so much.

You are wrapping your arms about Amy and us and we feel it!

Love, Jill and Doug

Glorious God,

You are the only God and you are so good to us!  Only you have the power to make new life and to heal.  Only you have the power to whisper sweet words in Paula’s and Julie’s hearts to give their parents ‘a day off’.  Only you can bring us rest. Only you love us so much that we can feel it even if we can’t see you.  You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

Keep making Amy better, please.

Keep healing Susan’s back, please.

Keep Steve healthy, please, and thanks for healing him.

Keep Thea’s cancer markers low, please, and thanks for the end of the chemo!  Never again would be good!

Keep my own white cell count low and hemoglobin normal, please.

Remind me to  lean on you and to rest ever-so-comfortably in your arms… Remind all who read this of that, please.

lovely_thoughts_by_freemind93-d4pm8uh

Everpresent Energy,

Thank you for interesting work.  Thank you for new batteries in cars and new brakes; thank you for safety and the money to pay for repairs.  Thank you for dear friends and dear family members and dear people who smile on the street for no reason.  Thank you  for peace wherever and whenever we find it.  Lord, i love you so much!  And

I 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!

Professor Mary Luti wrote, in this morning’s StillSpeaking Devotional of the capacity for evil and violence in each of us.

So what  Prof. Luti is saying is “It could have been me.”  “There but for the Grace of God, go I.”  “We’re all more same than different.”   Some of us don’t want to remember that.  Some of us, the moral majority or the “good Christians” or the “practicing Jews” want to think we are no longer capable of such.

And then I remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who decided (with others) that it would be best to kill Hitler – to kill the evil one and stop the killing of the innocent ones.  Bonhoeffer’s writings are brilliant.  His theology touches my soul.  Yet he was an attempted murderer.  We’re all more same than different.

Ever-renewing Energy,

What an amazing creator you are.  To have allowed humans to be sentient; thinking, reason, deciding.  To have allowed humans to decide between evil and good; free will.  I don’t care if you made one Adam and one Eve or if we came through evolution or mutation, it’s still very cool what you’ve done.  Maybe you experimented: let me try this – oops, no Sodomites need to be wiped out!  How about this?  Nope, gonna wipe it out with a flood.  (Today in the middle west, millions of worms are being wiped  out due to the amount of  rain we’ve received in the last day!  What will the robins eat?  Maybe soggy worms…  maybe that’s what you wanted…  interesting.)  Maybe you don’t get involved at the micro-level.  Maybe you do.  Maybe you weep when even the least of your plans needs to be crossed off your endless list of possibilities.

Yet, you continue.  Maybe you just can’t help it.  Maybe what you are means you just keep creating.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Maybe you set out to make exactly me, and watch what happened from the time my parents got the right cells together to start me.  Maybe you laugh along with me when the joy can’t be contained anymore.  Maybe you clap when I go to the doctor and am taken off a medication.  That would be pretty nifty.  I would adore you anyway…  just because of what or who you are, but I think I would like you, too.  Maybe I’ll find out some day.  Maybe I won’t.  Maybe I won’t even care.  Maybe it will be like Daisy or Duey when they fall asleep in a ‘down stay’ and then wake up and don’t even remember.  That’d be ok.  Oh, wait, anything you do would be ok with me because it’s you, God.  And you’re amazing.  But this was a  fun little meditation; a little frolic and detour.  And it’s a rainy kind of morning when that kind of musing is entertaining.  To you too?  Amazing!

OK, God, let me get down to it.

All-knowing Architect,

What’s up with Amy again?  Why can’t the Lupus calm itself and let her stay out of the ICU?  So she didn’t have another seizure, that’s great!  But now, she got out of bed and fell?  And then she fell again.  And then they took her back to the ICU.  Please, please, please, be the doctors.  Be the medicine.  Be the technology.  Inspire the whole team of people caring for Amy, please.  Please?

And poor Doug and Jill and Paula and Julie!  Please hold on to them; enfold them in your arms so they feel your love and your strength.  Lord, your sense of time might be very different from ours, and this feels like such a long time!  And Amy gets a little bit better and then something else happens.  How can they not be disappointed and frustrated?  How can they not be crying “again?!?!  Seriously?!?”  And how can they continue to trust and be faithful servants through this?  How can they not be consumed with the question “WHY?”

Please, Lord, be with them.  Nourish them with the memory of Job.  Remind them that it’s not about the why, it’s about the what and the with whom.  Help them to remember to love mercy and seek justice and walk humbly with you.  Help them remember that there will be good days again.  Help them to know your peace.  Give them times of respite, maybe with prayer and meditation.  Help them to take their thinking minds off this for a little while and rest.

I bring Susan to you again, today.  I pray you’ve allowed her the medication to dull the pain from her back injury. Send your warmth and healing energy to her, please Lord.

I pray for Steve, home sick from work with the bug going around.  Give him rest and rebuild his systems. Give him a sunny attitude in the midst of this storm.

And now my mind goes back to Prof. Luti’s devotional from this morning.  It could be any of us.  We could have built pressure cooker bombs and left them near the finish line of a marathon.  Or blown up someone/something in the middle east and just happen to kill people who were walking along and weren’t the targets at all.

Some places have more violence than others.  I remember when Steve and I were talking about a honeymoon and I wanted to go to Ireland and Steve thought it was too dangerous.  And I’m reading Eat Pray Love and in Bali there was horrid violence within the last century and now it’s back to being thought of an idyllic paradise.

Thinker-Seated-Young-Woman-

Lord, here’s my plan (and I know it’s meager and flawed):  I’m going to live praising you and go where I wish – even in the valley of the shadow of death.  You’ll be with me, I know that.  I’m going to live my life with as much joy as I can muster and as much kindness as I can share.

Continuous Creator,

Wherever I go, you’re there with me.  Whatever I think, you are the source.  Whatever I have, you made.  Thank you for daffodils and forsythia.  Thank you for cold and heat.  Thank you for sun and for darkness.  Thank you for rest and work.  Thank you for friends and love and community.  Thank you for all the things and people that remind me of you.  I love you so much!  And

I 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!

Continual Creator,

You renew everything in our bodies over a seven year timespan.  You designed the human body to send the proper parts of our chemistry to an area of injury.  You created our nervous systems so that pain would remind us to rest.  Amazing!

Loving Lord,

Send your healing, I beg of you, to my friend Susan.  Let her feel lifted and supported by you love and strength.  Remind her to be gentle with herself and use all available to be comforted in your embrace, for you have given us everything that cures; you have given us everything that supports; you have given us every bit of love that exists.  And these are you.  You are the love, the support, the cure, the energy that makes things new.

backpain

Miraculous Maker,

Thank you for Amy’s improvements.  Please Lord, let her come get well enough to be able to come down from the high alltitudes of Colorado and back to her ‘flat land’ and get completely back to her normal status.

Gracious God,

We are filled with gratitude.  I love you so much.

Through Jesus Christ, my Lord,

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!

Source of Snow & Sunshine, Only you could have brought Matt & Susan together.  Only you could have created Susan, perfect in the ways you want her.  Only you could have created Matt, perfect in the ways you want him.  Only you could make Matt fall in love with Susan and make Susan in love with Matt.  You are amazing!

sunshine and snow

Lord of Love, I pray you will bring sunshine into Susan’s relationships with Matt, Sarah, Aaron, Matt’s son John, Matt’s daughter Kellie, Susan’s parents, brother and sister.  If Matt’s parents or siblings are alive, add them too.   I pray the only precipitation on their wedding day be tears of joy! Knit all these creations of yours together into a strong and loving family, wanting only the best for one another.  Remove stitches of anger, disappointment and depression if any try to knit these in.  Create a beautiful, durable fabric of all these people and their feelings and actions for one another.

knit family

Generous Giver, Thank you for marriage.  Thank you for those we love and those who love us.  These and everything more comes as an extravagant gift from you.  Amazing blessings.  I am grateful.  I love you so much!

marriage roses

In Jesus’ almighty 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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