Category Archives: Country Ripples

Reflective, inspirational thoughts.

Lesson I’m Learning: Circumstances Can’t Be Used to See God

For some reason, I used to think of God through the circumstances of my life. For example, in school I was teased a lot. Being a bit too sensitive for my own good, I took the teasing and non-invites to school dances and events as rejection. It was easy for me to think that if my peers were rejecting me, God was rejecting me too—for what, I couldn’t figure out.

Years later, I realize that circumstances and what people do or don’t do are poor ways of looking at God. If you try it, bitterness, resentment, anger, hatred, and prejudice will lodge in you and eat away at you. Throw in some depression and a lot of fear as well, and you’ll see why viewing God through the circumstances around you is an unwise, unhealthy choice.

Now, God’s grace enables me to think of Him through the lens of His Word—the only sure way to see and think of Him. Circumstances make shaky ground for anyone to pin a thought or belief on; God and His Word are stable, and solid. Circumstances can change quickly; God doesn’t change. As the Bible says, “…the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17b, KJV)

Tonight, by God’s grace, I know God doesn’t reject me. That false belief is washed away by verses such as: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16, NIV) Another verse: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (I John 4:10, NIV)

If you feel as though you need more stability in your life, consider looking into God’s Word. Ask Him for help. He’ll be glad you asked!

Further resources: God’s attributes: I Corinthians 13:4-8; God’s love as shown by Christ’s death: Romans 5:6-11

©P. Booher

 

 

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Keeping a Blessings Journal

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“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”(Philippians 4:8, KJV)

Many times in the Old and New Testaments God urges (and sometimes commands, as in Joshua 4:5-7) us to remember His blessings and what He has done. King David had many low moments, but came out of them by remembering God’s mercies and blessings to him and Israel. Remembering how God acted in the past gave David renewed faith and courage for the challenges ahead.

Some years ago I began keeping a blessings journal. I bought a 4″x6″ notebook and recorded blessings—like the time I was driving and almost caused an accident (the “almost” is the blessing part), the time I was standing outside a local store, waiting to cross the road, when I felt something brush the back of my leg. I thought it was a bug. Instead, it was the tail fin of a 1960’s-era car! I could have been run over! But I wasn’t hurt at all. I wrote about other events that “almost” happened and would have been disastrous, but they didn’t happen—blessings to me.

I wrote about things that did happen, like getting together with friends. Just last fall two of my friends and I went to a nature reserve and walked on one of the trails. We meandered around, listening to the birds, watching the fish in the pond, and enjoying each other’s company. Then we went to a restaurant to eat. My friends didn’t realize it, but that day was the day before my birthday. I knew I’d be working on my birthday, so I hadn’t planned anything, but just being with my friends was celebration enough.

I keep my little journal in my purse. I look at it when I have a few spare moments—on break at work, or even right before I go to bed. It reminds me of the many times God has blessed me. Taking just a few minutes to reflect on God’s goodness to me helps me combat worry and anxiety. God does not change; He has helped me before, He can help me again.

Resources: Psalm 63 and Psalm 142, among the many psalms David wrote, are especially timely.

©P. Booher

 

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Learning from Crocuses

My last post, here, showed a few crocuses blooming. I saw the crocuses blooming, and the number of flowers surprised me. I counted around thirty—way more than the number of actual plants. But the plants didn’t get there by themselves. My mother and I planted them.

As a developing writer I am tempted to envy those writers who are better, more accomplished and more successful than me.

Seeing the crocuses blooming reminded me that it takes work to get success. Success doesn’t happen overnight or by itself. It requires investing time, effort, and depending on the venture, money and a willingness to take risks.

When envy starts to show its face I ask myself: Have I put in hours to learn craft, new technology, and marketing? Am I doing all I can to grow? These questions foil envy in its tracks.

©P. Booher

 

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What I Want More of in My Life This Year

I know, I know–we are almost through February, and I’m still thinking of New Year’s resolutions! What can I say–it takes me awhile to gather up my thoughts.

Here’s my list:

  1. to be more thoughtful of others
  2. to show more concern for others without being judgmental
  3. humility
  4. maturity, especially in more control over my emotions
  5. writing, in quantity and quality
  6. enjoy the outdoors more
  7. exercise (whether stretching, doing yard work or housework, or walking)
  8. resilience
  9. being intentional
  10. confidence
  11. a thicker skin, to handle criticism better, especially of my writing

If a store could hand these out, I’d be first in line! 🙂 As it is, since God is the only One Who can help, I’ll add “more prayer” to this list and see what God does.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

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A Different View of Accomplishments

pen calendar to do checklist

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My idea of a to-do list used to be like the one pictured above. Sometimes it still is. I still write a list, and some days I accomplish quite a few items. Most of the time the items on the to-do list spill over into the next day, or even the next week—or two.

In the past year or so my idea of accomplishments changed. It broadened to include not only things you see on a list, but also things you can’t see, like victories over discouraging  thoughts and worries. Recently I engaged in a fencing match with the thought, “Your life isn’t worth much.”  You can read about that battle here. Last week or so I boxed with the impression, “You’ve fumbled badly in your work, your finances, and every area of your life.” Then a picture flashed through my mind of falling flat on my face. Not something to give a person confidence, is it?
I prayed, and once again, Faith came to my rescue, saying that I haven’t fumbled badly, and even if I have, God can and is willing to help me. I’m not alone.

These interior victories show me the most meaningful accomplishments aren’t ones you can cross off a piece of paper. They are ones achieved inside you.

micaela-parente-YGgKE6aHaUw-unsplash

Photo Credit: Micaela Parente, Unsplash

Resources:

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24, KJV)

“Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.” (Psalm 60:12, KJV)

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

 

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A Life-long Learner

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Years ago a family member said to me, “You just want to be a professional student!” He didn’t say it in a complimentary way.

While I have an idea why the person said that (getting a formal education costs a lot, and you can never be sure you’ll get a job that makes that education worthwhile) his statement still hurt my feelings. The person was right, though. I enjoy learning facts—can’t help it. When I was eight or nine years old I used to sit and leaf through a book from our big set of encyclopedias, or even get lost in the dictionary. Now I sit in front of a computer and take online courses in writing; I get lost on the internet reading articles on diverse subjects such as Niagara Falls, the story behind the 1997 movie “Titanic”, and service dogs. It’s all good, and it’s all fun for me. It makes the little gray cells in my brain jump up and down for joy.

My family member’s comment aside, writing and other activities in life show me it’s valuable to have the mindset of a “professional student”.  I need to be humble enough to be teachable. I need discipline to keep myself learning. I don’t think it’s possible to improve in writing, or in a lot of other endeavors, without that type of mindset.  I’ve found an unexpected benefit of such a mindset is it adds richness to life. You get to see how the process of learning affects you, you figure out ways to learn things you need to know that you may not be naturally proficient at, and you see how facts are intertwined.  Yes, being a professional student costs, but the rewards are without measure!

©P. Booher

 

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Friday Photos–An Object Lesson in Persistence

Creek at bridge (where we feed the fish)

Author’s Photo

bare-trees-creek-flowing-over-rocks

Author’s Photo

Creek and railroad bridge

Author’s Photo

A problem I have is my lack of persistence. It’s all too easy for me to give up.

One day as I gazed at a little country creek , I realized God provided an object lesson for me. The creek contends with rocks, fallen trees, the remnant of an old railroad bridge, and other obstacles on its way to its destination, a larger creek. Nothing holds the little creek back. It keeps on going–over, under, around or through the obstacle. It never gives up, never gives in, and eventually reaches the merger with the bigger creek.

What a lesson for me, given anew every time I look at the creek. How well am I learning? Slowly, but I am improving.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  James 1:3,4, King James Version

©P. Booher

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God, Calling, and Creativity

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Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Baker, Unsplash.com

 

photo of woman painting in brown wooden easel

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I believe God is the original Creator (see the Book of Genesis, Chapters 1 and 2). Those chapters vividly describe God’s creativity. I also believe God calls people to creative work, whether it be writing, painting, sculpting, gardening, architecture, finding better ways to solve problems, or any other way creativity displays itself. God is the Caller; we are the callees.

The following ideas are from thinking about The Soul Tells A Story:Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life by Vinita Hampton Wright.

  1. You can fulfill your calling from God in a variety of ways, depending on your situation and the time you have available in any one day. There’s flexibility. A calling never ends. You may do one kind of creativity for awhile, then start another, but it still falls under your calling.
  2. No one else can (or should) judge how you go about fulfilling your calling. That’s between you and God. Any person who does judge has no qualification to do so.
  3. Calling isn’t necessarily something you do for money. It might be, but often it is not. Calling goes “deeper” than work. It is in who you are and what you are gifted (in reality, created) to do. Calling makes God and you happy, and you aren’t happy until you are in some way fulfilling that calling.

 

©P. Booher

 

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When I Feel As Though My Life Isn’t Worth Much

Earlier today the impression entered my mind: “Who are you to think you’re anyone special?  Your life isn’t worth much.”

At first glance circumstances agree: I am just one of six or seven billion plus people on this planet; lower sales after Christmas means I am working fewer hours on my retail job, so don’t have a sense of productivity/ worth there; I don’t have a boyfriend or husband who can lift my spirits. Even the weather got in on the act. The sun shone dimly through an overcast sky, so it was gloomy inside, even with lights on.

I prayed about that impression. Immediately Faith kicked in and said, “No! Your life is worth much because God loves you and created you. He sent His Son to die for you. You are valuable.”

God reminded me that the earlier impression of low worth didn’t come from Him; those were not His words.

After this, I called a relative who, like me, wants to put more emphasis on spending time with family. We agreed to meet tomorrow.

Then I spent some time outside (being in the fresh air always raises my spirits) feeding the birds, and raking leaves for mulch. It was cold, but I was helping the birds, doing something productive, and I could always warm up with a cup or two of tea back inside. As I raked leaves, the sun shone a little stronger, and beautiful blue sky appeared on the horizon.

Lastly, I am writing this blog post for anyone else who hears those words, “Your life isn’t worth much”. I am writing to tell you not to believe them. You are valuable.

©P. Booher

 

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Veterans Day–November 11, 2019

group of veterans

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Today is a day in the country I live in to honor veterans who served in the military.  Men and women went overseas (and are still going) to serve, not knowing whether they would ever see their families again.

This day brings memories of my father, who served in the US Army during WWII. Like so many other people, he was just 19 or 20 when he left his small-town home and traveled thousands of miles to Germany and France. He saw and heard sights and sounds no person should ever have to see and hear, as he experienced a part of the inhumanity of man towards man. While he was proud to wear the uniform of a US serviceman, he said that the service took the best years of his life. Beyond that, he said little about that time; I am sure he preferred to put it out of his mind, as much as he could.

I write this post in an attempt to honor my father, and by extension, so many other men and women, who gave up hopes and dreams to serve, often in horrendous conditions. They gave up a lot, more than I (not being a veteran) can ever express. I salute you.

american back view burial cemetery

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©P. Booher

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