Category Archives: Country Ripples

Reflective, inspirational thoughts.

A Little Bit of Light

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

I’m always amazed by how much light one candle or one nightlight produces. When I go into a dark room and turn on a little four- or-seven-watt lightbulb, the difference is stunning. Even that tiny bit of light pierces the darkness and makes it easier to see. 

I don’t feel as though I have a lot of light, but I need to shine the light I have. That little bit of light from a nightlight can keep me from stumbling in the dark. The little bit of light I shine may be what helps someone to gather the courage to keep going, to not give up, not give in, at least for one more hour or one more day.

 

“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:15 (NLT)

©P. Booher

 

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Filed under Country Ripples, Life Issues

To Help Me Get Moving

Photo Credit: Werner Sevenster

I don’t like getting up in the morning. I like mornings; I don’t like getting up then. 

Lately I discovered some phrases or questions come to mind that get me going:

What can I do to make my corner of the world brighter, cleaner, more appealing?

What can I do towards solving a problem that’s hung around for too long?

                                      and my favorite, so far:

What seeds of possibility can I plant today?

Hope these may help someone else who finds it hard to get moving.

 

 

Photo Credit: Markus Spiske

©P. Booher

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Thoughts on Chronic Pain

Back in July, our area had a bout of rainy, humid weather. The weather aggravated my arthritis to the point that I spent some days on my back, with ice packs on various aching joints.

Since then, wanting to get a handle on chronic pain, I’ve come to some conclusions which I believe will help me deal with the self-pity which comes calling along with the pain. I offer them here for any one of the millions of people who live with chronic pain:

Chronic pain can’t keep God from loving me. It cannot and does not keep God from seeing me as a person of inestimable value.

Chronic pain cannot keep me from returning God’s love. It cannot keep me from finding ways to express that love. It may change the ways I do it; it cannot keep me from doing it.

Chronic pain cannot keep me from serving others; it may change the ways I do it; it cannot keep me from doing it.

 

Scripture passages to consider: Romans 5:1-8; Romans 8:35-39; Hebrews 13:5 (which quotes Deuteronomy 31:6)

©P. Booher

 

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Filed under Faith Matters, Life Lessons

Wonderful Moments of Respite

This spring and summer have been the most challenging and stressful I have ever experienced. But in the middle of it all, God gave me times of refreshment.

  1. In July, I signed up for a seven-week Bible study held at a couple’s house a few miles away from my home. Our small group sat on their patio, prayed for requests, read God’s Word, and discussed the topics. I particularly remember one evening. Before going, I prayed for the Lord’s Presence to be manifested in a special way. It was hot and humid that evening, which had a way of adding to the stress I felt over household responsibilities. When I sat down on the patio, to my surprise and delight a pleasant breeze met me and wafted its way through our small group. It remained so the whole hour. It was refreshing and that time soothed and uplifted my spirit. God did come—in the form of a cooling breeze, and in the fellowship with the group.
  2. One Sunday morning I walked into church. The week had been hard, and I felt much anxiety over the way things were going. As I sat down, I noticed a sweet Spirit of Love—that’s the only way I know to describe the sense—in the church. That sweet, sweet Spirit remained through the whole service. I left feeling calmed and renewed. God knew I needed that time of comfort and the sense of His love. The next day I made the hard decision to have our cat Abby put to sleep. Four days later a close relative was admitted to the hospital for a bleeding ulcer.

“The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”    Acts 3:19 (KJV)

©P. Booher

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Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters

God Notices the Work We Do

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For awhile I was feeling taken for granted as I did household chores. I do various tasks because they need done, and sometimes my mother doesn’t seem to notice or care. I know—once a person gets to be an adult, you shouldn’t require affirmation. Nevertheless, it bothered me. 

One morning as I took the garbage and recycling containers out for the weekly pick-up, God spoke in my mind. He said that even when my mother doesn’t notice, He does. He notices when I do the little, mundane, unpleasant tasks needed to keep the house—ultimately, His house—looking better and smelling cleaner.

Knowing God sees what I do and appreciates it gives me a bigger perspective and peace. Now, it doesn’t matter if my mother says anything or not; God notices, and that’s all that matters.

Many people work in menial, low-paying jobs. They may feel taken for granted by their employers, and by other people. But they need to know—they are not taken for granted by God. As long as their work is honest, God notices their labors, and He appreciates it.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”  (Colossians 3:23, NLT)

©P. Booher

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A Surprising Benefit to My “Favorites” Notebook

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

Years ago I bought an 11×8½ spiral notebook with a photograph on the cover of a creek running through woods.  I decided that notebook would be my “Favorites” notebook. On the inside I wrote, “Favorites—things I liked when I saw them”. 

My “Favorites” notebook starts off with the poem “Refuge” by Lew Sarett, and is followed with passages by Faith Baldwin from her book Living by Faith, and Robert Traver from Anatomy of a Fisherman. The notebook includes other poems; bits and pieces which stuck out as I read different books and articles; newspaper clippings about nature, history, movie reviews; song lyrics, and people stories—people following their creative muses, and people acting in commendable ways towards people and animals. 

I have a few scrapbooks, too, but those I meant to keep in order, and that order got lost in the shuffle of the years (and never taking the time to sit down and arrange photos properly). Most of the scrapbook pages are faded, and not appealing to work at. Somehow it’s easier and more pleasing to me to keep my favorites notebook going. Plus spiral notebooks are meant to be written in, so I can add my thoughts to something I read. The scrapbook pages are not good for writing on.

I found a surprising benefit to keeping a favorites notebook: when I’m in a bad mood, my nerves are on edge, or my spirits are low, taking the time to look through or work on the notebook improves my disposition, calms my nerves, and raises my spirits.

©P. Booher

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Filed under Country Ripples, Creativity, Tips to Manage Stress

What I’m Enjoying Now

A list of good stuff, of blessings and things which give me pleasure (in no particular order)

  1. a good cup of tea, either hot or iced
  2. the feeling of satisfaction when I mow grass, do yard work or housework, and see how much neater the area looks
  3. reading a good book, either for fun, inspiration, or education
  4. some spiritual victories
  5. growing in the ability to make a writing piece better
  6. seeing the flowers bloom (it was the peony bush, now it’s wild daylilies) By extension, moments enjoying God’s Creation, simply enjoying it, and being lost in those moments.
  7. finding a way to solve a problem, especially one that’s bugged me for awhile
  8. time spent with friends—ones I’ve known, and ones I’m getting to know
  9. being able to pass on some encouragement
  10. a Bible translation I enjoy reading
  11. the car passed inspection
  12. faith to realize that good things happen in each day
  13. knowing God is for me
  14. looking forward to more personal growth, so I can give more to others

©P. Booher

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“Not Today”

Please bear with me today as I work through a nerve-wracking experience. This post is one way to work through it.

In the culture I live in, “not today” has a casual meaning. It’s said if a person knows that some task should be done, and he or she knows it won’t get done. So,  in referring about the situation, the person says “Not today”.

This afternoon I realized a more serious meaning to that phrase. 

I almost had a car accident. Had it happened it would have been bad for me and it would have been my fault. I pulled out in front of a large vehicle as I came from a gas station. When I looked, I didn’t see anyone coming. When I looked again, an SUV was just a few feet away from me. Miraculously, both sets of brakes held, I hurried up and went in my lane, and we (both drivers) could resume going where we were going.

I believe God said, “It’s not her time. Not Today.”

“My times are in your hands…” Psalm 31:15 (NIV)

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

Lord, let me not take my life for granted. Help me be ready when it is my time.

Singer Kirk Franklin’s book The Blueprint contained this quote, which dovetails with this meditation:

“There was the car wreck, and the bullet, and the doctor’s diagnosis, and the pink slip at work—these were all things that God spared me from in the past week. Things I wasn’t even aware of. And church is my time to go and be in His presence and thank Him. Even when there are sick, stupid people there who are just as broken as me, church service is my time to be reminded of how good He’s been to me all through the week. Yes, there may have been some bad things that happened, but there were a lot of things that didn’t happen, a lot more bad things that could have happened. So for that I’m going to show my appreciation.”                 Author Unknown

 

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1 (NIV)

P. Booher

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A Movie About Boundaries

One night last week, before falling asleep I saw a “movie scene” flash in my mind’s eye. I’m pretty sure it was my mind’s combination of a post I read, a book I’ve been reading (Cancel the Culture), my thoughts about boundaries, and a sermon I heard.

The scene: A person was walking on a narrow path. The path was bordered by fences on both sides. Beyond the fences people were involved in many activities. A skateboarder appeared in the scene, weaving in and out among the crowd. While I could see some people, others were just shadowy figures in the blackness further away from the fences. I could hear them, laughing and carrying on, but I couldn’t see them. The people I could see were partying—drinking, shooting up drugs, doing activities illegal, immoral, and unethical—anything you could imagine. The people beyond the fences hollered out to the walker. Some people invited the person to join the partying; other people mocked the person for not joining them, calling the walker “old-fashioned” and hurling insults. But the walker kept on the path, not paying any attention to the commotion of the world.

For me, the fences are boundaries I need to keep to live and write the best I can. If I engage in relationships or activities I know are outside of God’s will for me, I will suffer, and eventually that will have an affect on the writing I produce. The boundaries also involve what I read, listen to, and watch; I believe the words I read, the music I listen to, and the movies, tv, or videos I watch affect my mind. They go in there, and tend to stick, especially the negative stuff. I need a certain degree of peace of mind to do creative work, even to want to do creative work, so I need to keep those boundaries intact.  The path means I pay attention to my writing, not what anyone else is writing.  I keep focused on the path. I may ask for help; I take online classes in writing, but I don’t need to find out the success some other writer is enjoying. The people on the other side of the fences represent temptations to envy others’ success, or the voices of the world or in my mind, telling me things I know I need to ignore.

Besides the application specifically for me, I see another application, one for Christians and people in general to consider. Again, I see the fences as boundaries for guidance and protection; the people outside the fences represent the world’s temptations. We live in a time when the boundaries are cast aside by the world and even by some Christians, but we suffer when we ignore God’s boundaries. He put them there not to “cramp our style”, but to give us the greatest amount of joy, happiness and peace possible this side of heaven, with the least amount of heartbreak. Isn’t that something worth thinking about?

©P. Booher

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It Takes Faith–A Word About An Empty Tomb

“…the women…found the stone rolled away  from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”  (Luke 24:1-3) (NIV)

Although I didn’t go to church often when I was growing up, I knew Easter Sunday was the day Christ rose from the grave. I didn’t connect that fact to anything else in my life–it was just a “religious fact”.  Christ came; He died; He rose. The tomb is empty. That’s good–but what’s that mean?

Years later, that empty tomb–that knowledge I have by faith–gives me hope. The empty tomb gives me hope because Christ was (and is) too big to be held by it. If He is too big for that, He is certainly big enough to handle any and all of the problems I have now or ever will have. He is not at all bothered by any of my problems. He is not fretting about what to do. He has it under control!

The empty tomb gives me hope because it means Christ is living. If He is living, I can reach Him through prayer. I have access to all His comfort, all His kindness, all His understanding of me. He can give guidance, ease my fears, cancel my worries.

That is what the empty tomb means to me now. It takes faith.

©P. Booher

 

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Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Tips to Manage Stress