Tag Archives: 40acts

Day #35 – Bite My Tongue?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 30, 2015

BK one kind word changes

Day #35 – Bite My Tongue?

Ouch. I resemble that remark. Or, rather, today’s whole #40acts post.

That is, I used to resemble today’s post about being careless with my tongue and subsequently watching my remarks. I remember, in my late teens and twenties, that I had an acerbic tongue. Sometimes it would hit the mark, and cause chuckles or even outright laughter. But on a number of occasions, I would go too far. Say something way out of line.

What is that old saying? “Turnabout is fair play!” Since I was hanging around with several people who made this their habit, I was put in the situation of being the recipient of acerbic, sarcastic remarks more than once. Many more times than once. I found out—the hard way!—how much those remarks stung. Hurt. Festered. You better believe I licked my wounds.

Gradually, I came to understand that this way of speaking was not the way to behave. This was not the way to make friends and influence people. At least, not the kind of people I enjoyed hanging out with. You helped me to clean up my hasty language, too.

Today’s suggestions in Katherine’s post make so much sense! The opposite is so often the case. The New Testament letter of James makes the penetrating point that the tongue is a small thing. Tiny, as far as the whole rest of the body is concerned. But it’s oh-so-similar to the rudder of a ship. The tongue can steer me and my thoughts and attitudes in specific directions. Positive? Caring? Negative? Sarcastic? How about fearful? Or judgmental? Or excitable?

A slip of the tongue can ruin a conversation, or even a relationship. Conversely, a well-placed word can benefit not only me, but my friends. My acquaintances. My boss. My family.

God, thanks for the progress You and I have made together, in these past number of years. Dear God, help me to continue watching what I say, and make my words pleasing to You. Such a little thing, the tongue; help us all to be more aware of what and how we speak. Thanks, God! You’re the best.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Day #33 – How to Scrap the Schedule

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 27, 2015

now clock

Day #33 – How to Scrap the Schedule

I saw today’s suggestion, and I immediately knew what I was going to write about. In fact, two situations popped into my head.

The first is a recent visit I made to a shut-in. I cleared my schedule for most of the day, and went on a visit. This shut-in and I talked together for quite some time. I opened my ears and listened, and I offered my friendship. In the same way as I offer my smile and friendly conversation to many people, I realized I gave my time, freely.

This hadn’t even crossed my mind, before. I hadn’t thought about this, not until I read today’s post from #40acts. Wendy talked about giving the gift of time, and being generous with the schedule. I did this, too. Just recently. Some days I can’t. I have so much going on at my work. But on this particular day, I did. And this dear person appreciated my visit.

The second situation was with my daughter, recently. I know, my family is so important! However, in certain cases, the family gets short shrift. Again, I know I ought to make time for my family. My loved ones. Yet—do I go out of my way to make the time?

My college-age, youngest daughter and I randomly took off, several weekends ago. Just drove in the car for a ways, and stopped for coffee (for me, tea for her). Stopped at a store we found interesting, and talked as we drove. I know these times are becoming few and far in between. Bittersweet.

Yet, if I don’t take the initiative to scrap my schedule on occasion, I know I will look back with sadness. Wistfulness. Downright regret. Plus, being generous with my time makes people happy!

God, help me to scrap my schedule more often. Please. Thank You!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Day #28 – Roll Up My Sleeves? Yesss!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 21, 2015

My A Year of Being Kind t-shirt!

My A Year of Being Kind t-shirt!

Day #28 – Roll Up My Sleeves? Yesss!

When I read the #40acts post for today, I couldn’t have been more pleased. This blog post was right up my alley. I don’t know if you know, but I am intimately acquainted with this idea. I wrote a daily blog in 2014 called A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service.

In this blog, I tried to focus on being kind, being helpful, and being of service. In most blog entries, I tried to write about how I tried to be kind. Each Friday, I focused on someone else being helpful or of service. (Yes, a Focus Friday!) I was successful in writing every day in 2014. What a wonderful offering to God! And, what an opportunity to show my friends, family, church, and strangers that God loved them, too. (I am still highlighting my Being Kind posts, at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com . )

Yes, I immediately connected with #40acts back in February, when I saw that they were offering the opportunity for people to do 40 acts of generosity and kindness. When #40acts asked people to think about how much they could affect their neighborhood, their church, their friends, their workplace, their school. This is a marvelous chance to truly change the world! One generous, kind act at a time.

Practical generosity. The kind that gets things done, one act at a time. One day at a time.

Before I even saw today’s suggestion for Day #28, I saw an older woman trying to open a door at a coffee shop, later last night. The woman had mobility issues, difficulty with her feet, and walked with a cane. Without even thinking about it, I held the door open for her. (Second nature, I suppose.) I smiled at her with my friendly, cheerful expression, and waited for her to slowly make her way through the doorway.

After getting my coffee, I proceeded out the other way. I saw the older woman again, near the bathroom. She had dropped one of her gloves, and was trying to scoot it up the wall with her cane. (She had difficulty bending over.) She wasn’t doing very well, and I could see her start to get frustrated. I stooped to get the glove and gave it to her on my way out. She was so grateful!

I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but that is typical of what I often do. I help people. I’m often kind and of service. Of course, having the spiritual gifts of helps, mercy, discernment and spiritual nurture makes it easier. (Note I did not say “easy!” No. Just easier.) I wonder how much I have affected the world? The world? Nah!! Too grandiose. My neighborhood is enough for me.

God willing, I can express God’s love. And I can preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, I can even use words. Thank You, Lord!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  I also have Being Kind t-shirts at my blogs, too. @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Day #24 – Chocolate for Everyone? Hmm.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chocolate illustration Credit - Michael Toland

Chocolate illustration
Credit – Michael Toland

Day #24 – Chocolate for Everyone? Hmm.

Hmm. As I read today’s suggestion—giving out chocolate freely, to one and all—I had an initial reaction. And, my reaction was not all that positive. I grew up in Chicago. Yes, I grew up in a decent area on the northwest side, but still . . . some of those street smarts that I grew up with are still inside of me. Still active, when awakened.

Like when I read this suggestion. It has been drummed into my head to be cautious when traversing the city. When walking, or on public transportation. On buses or elevated trains or subways. On top of that, when my children were small, I used to take them trick or treating around the neighborhood, on Halloween. I would be careful where I went–which houses we went to.

So, while today’s suggestion seems a perfectly lovely idea, something deep inside me said, “Nope.” Sure, some people would happily take the chocolate. However, others would toss it. Either on the street, or in the nearest garbage can. (Sorry, but that‘s the way some folks are. Suspicious, anxious, and even mean-spirited.)

Good thing I was attending a conference today! Accordingly, I bought a small bag of chocolates, and passed them out freely. To those sitting at the table with me, during the morning keynote address, to those at the lunch table, and to several people at the afternoon session. Plus, I was able to share about Lent, and 40 positive acts of generosity, and how doing 40 acts of generosity and kindness will have an impact on my church, my workplace, and my neighborhood.

I think I covered it. (How am I doing? Was that accurate?)

So, I hope I communicated about #40acts well. I pray so. Lord, bring those chocolates to those dear people’s minds. Help them to remember about 40 acts. And most importantly, about You, too.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Day #22 – Time to Spend with Others, Time to Pray.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 14, 2015

one another word cloud

Day #22 – Time to Spend with Others, Time to Pray.

As I read today’s suggestion for #40acts, one of the first people I thought of was a good friend of mine who lives a distance from here. In other words, I can’t just run over and see her on a whim. At the drop of a hat. No, since I need to drive a few hours to where she lives, I need to set aside a block of time. Intentionally. Happily, I was able to do exactly that, in December! And, I hope to spend some time with her again, soon.

I enjoy people! I enjoy spending time with them, going places, having good times. But—this takes time. I have some important responsibilities, and—sadly—I have less time to devote to my good friends. (Like this particular good friend I have in mind.)

I know that many people center their relationship with God around money. How much they give—their treasure, and how God can use it. I agree with the author of today’s #40acts post when he emphasizes that time is also an integral part of the relationship with God. How much time an individual spends with God, or for God, or thinking about God is a telling part of how much God means in that individual’s life. And heart.

Spending time with friends and loved ones can be a meaningful way to keep in touch. To show people you care. To express love to others as well as to God.

Yes, both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke state “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This can be true, in terms of money. But as we treasure our time, and hoard up our time, and parcel out our time—this verse takes on a whole new meaning if we think of it in more than in terms of treasure, tithing and mere money.

We can be free and open-handed with our time just as much as we can be free and open-handed with money. Thanks, God, that I already have my mind oriented towards giving You time. For a while, that was mostly what I had to give! Help me to set aside time on a regular basis. This precious commodity. My time. Our time.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Day #16 – Turn It Off. Off the Hook. And Pray.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 7, 2015

cell phone illustration

Day #16 – Turn It Off. Off the Hook. And Pray.

Have you ever attended a silent retreat?

I attended a Lenten silent retreat today. Wonderful. Restful. Soul-searching, too. The retreat focused on the Lord’s Prayer. However, God wanted to bring much more than that to me.

One of the retreat leaders, Jay (my marvelous spiritual director), told us we were to turn off our cell phones as we entered into the retreat time. Having some concerted time, all morning and all afternoon to concentrate on myself and my relationship with God, the last thing I needed was a telephone call. Even, a telephone text.

I had left my cell phone at home, since I knew how tempting it would be to check calls. Voicemails. Messages. Texts. Oh, how wonderful to be free of the rigors and bother of a cell phone! At least, for a few hours.

God did communicate several interesting matters to me. One was especially profound. As I went through the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer through the day, certain things surfaced. Questions I was asked included: Are there particular areas of your life in which you long to encounter God? How in your life are you aware of your need for God’s provision—both material and spiritual? For what do you need to seek God’s forgiveness? And, what personal obstacles or temptations are you encountering in life; in what ways have you taken these to God?

Today was a fruitful, peaceful time of encounter with God. Prayer, meditation, and resting in God.

And, yes. I also tried to follow today’s suggestion for #40acts. Being on the retreat only magnified (in a good way) the silence and stillness. And, I did not even notice the absence of the cell phone until the retreat was over.

I also found I was able to listen to God much more clearly. Leaving my cell phone at home? A great idea! For at least a little while.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Day #12 – Lose the Plastic. Seriously.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 3, 2015

do something your future self will thank you for

Day #12 – Lose the Plastic. Seriously.

Wasting stuff. So much stuff gets thrown away. It is a crime to just watch stuff going out, tossed in the garbage, day after day.

Today’s suggestion from 40acts is more of a challenge. If you had to live without plastic for a week, how would you do? As the author of today’s post said, “No bags, no food containers, no toothbrush.”

Wow! Right there, that stipulation almost makes it a deal breaker for me. I try to focus on my teeth, and oral health in general. But the suggestion for today goes much beyond mere toothbrushes and plastic bags. Do I take care of my home, my neighbors, just by being careful what and how much I try. To use plastic less and less, that is.

A related fact come in when a person uses less and less plastic. Just a simple thing like having my coffee in a reusable cup would make a difference! I have several reusable coffee cups (or, cups for tea). Since I love to drink coffee and tea so much, I already do this! Often.

I pass this on to my friends reading this post right now. A friendly suggestion. I also turn down the offer of a plastic bag periodically—like today, when I visited someone in the hospital. I bought several greeting cards in the gift shop, and turned down the offer of a plastic bag. (The weather was sleeting and raining during the day, so I can easily understand the offer.)

Remember what Jesus said, at the end of the paragraph in John 6? When they had all had enough to eat, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’

Accept the challenge? The world will be so glad you did! So will your neighborhood. And your neighbors, for that matter. God is smiling as you strive to reduce, reuse and recycle!

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .