What I’m Enjoying Now

Photo Credit: P. Booher Begonias on their “Summer Vacation”

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What I am enjoying these days:

  1. sensing God’s Presence in church and being in awe
  2. His Voice bringing comfort to me and giving me insight into His heart
  3. hearing the song of a thrush while I rake grass
  4. the scent of rain in the air
  5. having the window open and hearing the gentle patter of rain on leaves
  6. new opportunities to learn more, do more, contribute more
  7. being able to have the window open and feeling warm breezes
  8. big, beautiful, pink peony blooms which I can bring inside and put in vases
  9. being able to go outside without heavy coats and boots
  10. the sight of the begonias in the bed—my mother and I moved them from their “winter home” upstairs to their “summer vacation” outside. We agree the red begonias accent the grey bricks nicely.
  11. more blessings under the category of things which could have happened, but didn’t: Today I had a flat tire. I was irritated, but realized a couple blessings. The big one was that the flat happened while I was in my own driveway; I was not driving down the road at 50 miles per hour. Had it occurred a few minutes later I would have been on the road. The afternoon was sunny and pleasant, not pouring down rain as it was yesterday. The AAA man who changed the tire patiently answered my questions regarding the temporary tire.
  12. iced tea with a slice of lemon
  13. sitting on the porch reading
  14. having shelter to be out of the rain
  15. anticipation of more blessings, more pleasurable happenings, more spiritual victories

©P. Booher

 

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Nature Books

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Photo Credit: P. Booher

This post is for the nature lover, as I list different books featuring nature—either ones which help identify flora and fauna, or ones where the author draws from nature to express a deeper truth. Please note: these are all older books, but it may be possible to find them on used book sites.

  1. Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife—An Illustrated Guide to 2,000 Plants and Animals. I have spent time just looking at the beautiful pictures and illustrations in this book, let alone reading the text. The book not only shows what the plants and animals look like, it shows where they are found, and in the case of birds, it shows on maps where they are summer residents, winter residents, or live all year around. While this book is too big to take into the field, in my opinion, it’s wonderful to sit and look through and enjoy all the diversity shown. It’s also an education in environmental awareness, as the first part of the book describes various wildlife communities.
  2. Homeland: A Report from the Country by Hal Borland. I enjoyed reading this book by Mr. Borland, who was a nature columnist for the New York Times. I also have Hal Borland’s Book of Days. I must confess I haven’t read it yet, but believe I will enjoy reading it as much as Homeland. I’ve skimmed through Book of Days enough to know that, like Homeland, Mr. Borland relates nature facts as well as his thoughts about nature. Besides Homeland and Book of Days, he wrote many other books, most about nature in some way.
  3. By the River of No Return, by Don Ian Smith, is his first book about living in the mountain country of Idaho. 
  4. Wild Rivers and Mountain Trails, another book of devotionals by Don Ian Smith, celebrates living in the rugged, beautiful high country of Idaho. As with By the River of No Return, Pastor Smith does a wonderful job of using nature to illustrate eternal truths. His appreciation for the country and the animals in it shines through in this volume and By the River of No Return, and because of that, these books are a joy to read.
  5. Pathways To Understanding—Outdoor Adventures in Meditation by Harold E. Kohn, speaks about nature reflecting the Creator. Pastor Kohn also did the brush and ink drawings which illustrate his writing. 
  6. Country Chronicle by Gladys Taber, is drawn from the author’s life in New England. Gladys Taber’s columns used to appear in Family Circle or Woman’s Day magazines.

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–The Power of Words, Part II

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Words have such power! As creative as words can be (see The Power of Words, Part I, here,) they can be equally destructive. I think we often underestimate that destructive power. We repeat the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That saying is so untrue; it goes against the reality of the power of words.

Consider that words are important players in relationships. Think of it: a husband puts his wife’s family down; a wife belittles her husband’s ability to provide for the family; a father tells his son he will never amount to anything. The words used and the tone in which they are said, are like an invisible nuclear blast detonated in a person’s spirit. The fallout can last a long time.

What are my words like? Are they untrue, rude, thoughtless, insulting put-downs? Are they filled with the venom of gossip? Do they carry the hot coals of destruction?

Some Scriptures: Matthew 5:22, Ephesians 4:25, 29, 31, Ephesians 5:4, Philippians 2:14, Colossians 3:19, 21, and James 3:5,6

©P. Booher

 

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Memorial Day

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Memorial Day–a day to remember sacrifices made by so many men and women who went off to fight wars, not knowing if they would come back or not. Many did not come back. Of the veterans who did come back, some have lasting wounds from their experiences. Some of those are physical; some are mental; some are both.

I think of my father, who was diagnosed with PTSD years after his service in WWII. In his memory, and by extension, for all those veterans who suffer from PTSD, here is a prayer.

Dear Father in Heaven,

Thank you for those who fought and served. They left their homes, families and lives to travel thousands of miles away. I ask especially for those who have PTSD. Every day, they live with it. Help them cry out to You, Lord, and help them know You love them so much, and You see what they are going through. Lift them out of the miry clay, and set them on solid ground, in places of stability. Let them know Your love, peace, comfort, and joy . In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Some Scriptures: Psalm 40:1-3, Psalm 142, Psalm 143, Psalm 139: 1-18, John 3:16, Romans 5:8.9

P.Booher

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Friday “Walks”–The Reason for Hope

Photo Credit: P. Booher

May is National Mental Health Month here in the US, and a big part of mental health is hope. If a person has hope, he or she can keep going, despite what life throws at them. Recently I heard of a person who lost the battle for life because the person lost hope.

I need to remember that even when I don’t feel hopeful, the fact is Hope still lives. Despite my feelings or tragic events around the world, there is Hope. How can I write that? Consider Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. Christmas is a day observed as the day Jesus Christ, the Savior, stepped into human flesh. Good Friday is observed as the day Christ gave His life to act as the Savior for us. Easter is celebrated as the day of Christ’s resurrection, and the day of the empty tomb. Because there was a resurrection and there is an empty tomb, there is still Hope. There are possibilities to overcome problems–possibilities I am not yet aware of, because Hope lives.

You see, ultimately Hope doesn’t depend on my feelings; Hope is found in Jesus, because He lives and cares.

If you have lost hope in your life, I urge you to see someone who can give you an objective perspective, because if you have lost hope you are seeing only one side, the darker side filled with problems. Do NOT stay alone behind the walls of problems. Better yet, I urge you to see a pastor, counselor, or friend who can encourage you and point you to Jesus Christ. He is definitely NOT an impersonal, far away, unreachable Being who does not care whether you live or die; you have tremendous value to Him. He is as close as your cry for help and mercy. Crying out to God opens up possibilities you don’t know are there.

Some Scriptures: Hebrews 4:14-16, Romans 15:13, John 3:16, Titus 3:4,5, Psalm 34:4, Psalm 33:20-22, Psalm 61:1,2, Psalm 103:13, Psalm 139:7-16, Psalm 142, Deuteronomy 30:15

I also want to list some other resources:

1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (in the U.S.): 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting: Talk 741741. Website: suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Note: the 3-digit dialing code 988 which routes callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be available to everyone in the U.S. July 16, 2022. Currently it is available in some areas. Starting July 16, 2022 it will be available to everyone in the U.S.

2. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website: afsp.org

3. In Australia: www.beyondblue.org.au

4. In the United Kingdom: www.nhs.uk

5. In South Africa: www.sadag.org

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Needed: Showing, Not Just Telling

Years ago, a person I know worked at a small business in a small town. The owner and employee had attended the same Sunday school and church decades before. The owner professed Christianity and was active in a Christian businessmen’s association. He had also gone on short-term mission trips.

One night, it was the employee’s turn to close the store. Besides turning out the lights and locking up, her duties in closing the store meant taking the deposit over to the bank across the street, and putting the deposit in the night deposit box.

The next morning, the employee was shocked when the owner called, demanding to know where his money was. The employee said she had put the money in the chute. The owner said the bank couldn’t find the money. The employee was hurt that the owner would think she had stolen his money, particularly since the owner had known her for years. It turned out that there was a new teller at the bank, and she had not reached far enough down the chute to get the bag. The owner never apologized to the employee.

While the owner talked about Christ in his activities outside the business, he didn’t show Christ in his business, at least, not on that occasion. What an impact it would have had on that employee if the business owner had refrained from  jumping to conclusions, or, if he had at least apologized to the employee. As it was, the employee was unjustly accused, and she couldn’t take the owner’s Christian witness seriously. The owner didn’t realize the place his Christianity was most on display was not on the mission trips, but right there in his store, among employees, customers, sales representatives, and delivery people. They were the people most affected by the way his Christianity was lived out.

Perhaps you think I am being a little harsh on the business owner. Consider this: the work environment is where most people spend a good portion of their day. Work is also the source of a lot of stress. People working for a business owner who brings Jesus to work won’t even experience some of that stress, because Jesus is the Source of peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control… (see the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22). The business owner acts with those qualities, because Jesus is working inside of him or her.

For more information on faith at work, check out the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics site: tifwe.org

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–The Power of Words, Part I

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Words have such power! By simply uttering words, God created the universe, as recorded in Genesis 1 and 2. By words, Jesus healed, calmed storms, cast out demons, and fed thousands of people. Words have the power to encourage and give hope to someone who’s about to give up; words extend forgiveness and mercy; words express kindness, grace, patience, love, and truth.

Am I speaking those kinds of words?

Some Scriptures: Genesis 1 and 2, Matthew 8:3, Matthew 8:13, Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 1:23-25, Luke 9:14-16, Luke 23:40-43, John 8: 11, Psalm 19:14, Proverbs 14:5a, Proverbs 15:4a

P. Booher

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Taking a Break from Doing

As I write this I’m sitting outside in the front yard, soaking up the sun. The house inside is chilly, even with the furnace on. On a clear day like today, with the sunshine at full blast, temperatures warm up faster outside than in.

I feel sleepy (probably from staying in bed too long) and not motivated to do anything. My hips, some other joints, and some muscles are protesting last week’s yard work. So I decided to sit in the sun and chill out for awhile, wearing my wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt and customary blue jeans. I am ignoring the call of the dishes in the sink, the yard needing mowed and raked, and a lot of other items lining up on my to-do list. (I get a mental picture of soldiers lining up for roll call.)

My spirit feels as though I need time to do nothing, to block out responsibilities for a little while. I need time to just be an observer, soaking up the sights of trees and flowers blooming, along with the sounds of robins, Eastern phoebes, doves, goldfinches, orioles, cardinals, and chimney swifts providing nature’s symphony in the background.

Currently I don’t work outside the home, but I do the normal household tasks, along with outside work. I’ve been busy the past few days. Plus, there’s concerns and irritations which get on my nerves and sap my spirit. I need this time of saying “no” to all those things without feeling guilty. The chores and the world can wait for a bit longer. I need to enjoy “being” before I can enjoy “doing” again.

Anyone else know what I mean?

P. Booher

Photo Credit: P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Living by the Wrong Standards–AKA–I Owe an Apology to People

When I was in school, most learning took place via memorization and what’s now known as the visual learning style. If you were blessed with a good memory (as I was), had a mostly visual learning style (as I did), and liked to learn new facts (as I did), you generally got good grades. Note that I can’t take credit for any of these. They were part of my “package” when I arrived in the world.

A problem developed when I did start taking credit for these. Since I wasn’t popular socially, wasn’t pretty, and lacked self-confidence, I bolstered my self-esteem by tying it to the only thing I had–my academic achievements. I thought I was better than other people because I got good grades and they didn’t. (I cringe as I type that now; it is so way off-base, so foolish and arrogant.)

I didn’t understand that a person is born with certain aptitudes and skills not to lord it over people, not to think she is better than others but to develop and use those aptitudes and skills in the service of other people. A person highly-motivated to learn could become a teacher, for instance, putting his enthusiasm into the hearts and minds of others.

I apologize to people I looked down on. I was wrong and I know people were hurt by my attitude. 

A few Scriptures: “…knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” I Corinthians 8:1 (NIV), “…(God’s) love does not boast, it is not proud…it is not self-seeking…” I Corinthians 13:4, 5

©P. Booher

 

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Guest Post on Inspire Writers

Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Baker

I have a guest post on Inspire Writers website. If anyone would like to check it out, it can be found at: http://www.inspirewriters.com/writing-is-a-joy-and-a-discipline-god-uses/.

P. Booher

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