Pause for Poetry – by Mary Butterfield

This poem by Mary Butterfield is in the devotional book, Streams in the Desert. I couldn’t find the title or a link to it.

One day when walking down the street,

On business bent, while thinking hard

About the “hundred cares’ which seemed

Like thunderclouds about to break

In torrents, Self-pity said to me:

“You poor, poor thing, you have too much

To do. Your life is far too hard.

This heavy load will crush you soon.”

 

A swift response of sympathy

Welled up within. The burning sun

Seemed more intense. The dust and noise

With rasping blast of blowing horn

Incensed still more the whining nerves,

The fabled last back-breaking straw

To weary, troubled, fretting mind.

 

“Ah yes, it will break and crush my life;

I cannot bear this constant strain

Of endless, aggravating cares;

They are too great for such as I.”

So thus my heart consoled itself,

“Enjoying misery,” when lo!

A “still small voice” distinctly said,

“‘Twas sent to lift you–not to crush.”

I saw at once my great mistake.

 

My place was  not beneath the load

But on top! God meant it not

That I should carry it. He sent

It here to carry me. Full well

He knew my incapacity

Before the plan was made. He saw

A child of His in need of grace

And power to serve; a puny twig

Requiring sun and rain to grow;

An undeveloped chrysalis:

A weak soul lacking faith in God.

 

He could not help but see all this

And more. And then, with tender thought

He placed it where it had to grow–

Or die. To lie and cringe beneath

One’s load means death, but life and power

Await all those who dare to rise above.

 

Our burdens are our wings; on them

We soar to higher realms of grace;

Without them we must ever roam

On plains of undeveloped faith,

(For faith grows but by exercise

In circumstance impossible.)

 

O paradox of Heaven. The load

We think will crush was sent to lift us

Up to God! Then, soul of mine,

Climb up! Nothing can e’er be crushed

Save what is underneath the weight.

 

How may we climb! By what ascent

Will we crest the critical cares

Of life! Within His word is found

The key which opens His secret stairs;

Alone with Christ, secluded there,

We mount our loads, and rest in Him.

Mary Butterfield

Streams in the Desert

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Gluten-free Butternut Squash Frittata Recipe

This delicious one-pan gluten-free butternut squash frittata can be served at any time. Because butternut squash is extremely hard to cut, if you can find pre-cubed squash, that’s the best way to go. Another option is to slice the squash in half length-wise, place in a dish with approximately 1/2 inch water, and microwave several minutes to soften enough to cube.

4 cups butternut squash cubes
1/2 red onion, cut into thick slices
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
8 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or parsley)
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place squash and onion in a large, heavy cast-iron skillet or other ovenproof skillet and toss with the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

Roast until the vegetables are browned and softened, about 25 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking. Remove skillet from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sage and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together. Pour into the skillet and return it to the oven.

Continue cooking until eggs are just about set, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cheese.

Turn on the broiler; place the skillet under the broiler just until the cheese melts and the top of the frittata is browned, about 2 minutes.

Cool for a few minutes, cut into wedges, and serve.

Enjoy!

I wish you well.

Sandy

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September is Suicide Awareness Month

Since 1974, the United States has observed National Suicide Prevention Month in September. Dedicating a month to bringing awareness to this mental health issue not only shows those who suffer with this disease it’s okay to admit you’re not okay, but there is nothing weak in asking for help.

It also provides an opportunity for each of us to realize how important it is to talk about the subject.

Last month, as I prepared posts for September, I debated whether to revisit the subject. I pretty much decided not to. (I first wrote about suicide in a post in 2014.)

But sadly, after minister Jarrid Wilson, the founder of Anthem of Hope committed suicide September 10, 2019 on National Suicide Prevention Day, I decided to write this post. Anthem of Hope’s website states they are an organization devoted to help equip the church with the resources needed to help better assist those struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide, whose core values are: God Loves You, Life Matters, and You Have a Purpose.

I’ve had first-hand experience with friends who committed suicide and friends who tried, but fortunately, did not succeed. I am by no means an expert. So I’ll leave that to the experts.

My hope in writing this post is to raise awareness of this staggering problem which affects so many around each of us.

SAVE Suicide Awareness Violence Education reports:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
  • Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes. (CDC)
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. (CDC)
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)

Anthem of Hope’s blog reports:

  • Over one million people die by suicide worldwide each year.
  • On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-24.
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined.
  • Four out of Five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.
  • Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7th-12th.

Here are some statistics from several LifeWay Research studies that may help better understand the issue of mental health among people in our churches. (From Anthem of Hope’s blog.)

Christian Mental Health Statistics:

  • 23 percent of pastors acknowledge they have personally struggled with a mental illness.
  • 49 percent of pastors say they rarely or never speak to their congregation about mental illness.
  • 27 percent of churches have a plan to assist families affected by mental illness.
  • 65 percent of churchgoing family members of those with mental illness want their church to talk openly about mental illness.
  • 59 percent of those actually suffering from mental illness say the same.
  • 76 percent of churchgoers say suicide is a problem that needs to be addressed in their community.
  • 32 percent of churchgoers say a close acquaintance or family member has died by suicide.
  • 80 percent of pastors say their church is equipped to assist someone who is threatening to take his or her own life.
  • 4 percent of churchgoers who lost a loved one to suicide say church leaders were aware of their loved one’s struggles.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Or Anthem of Hope.

Awareness is the beginning. We can all be a part of throwing out a lifeline and help prevent suicide.

Click the quote bubble at the top of the post to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. Psalms 40:2 (NLT)

 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Take Back Your Time Book Review

There is so much organizational information in Morgan Tyree’s Take Back Your Time it’s difficult to know where to begin. First off, this is not a book to rush through. It is a book to read, put into practice, read again, repeat.

Morgan discusses scheduling time to prioritize your priorities, organizing your day for maximum productivity, applying your strengths according to who you are, managing your calendar, setting goals which signal your intention, and breaking your time into three zones: green, yellow, and red.

The first three chapters encourage you to record where you spend most of your time and identify your priorities. The next three chapters build on what you recorded.

In the green zone, she suggests you focus on your productivity chart and work on your top three priorities with total focus. The yellow zone allows for interruptions and a little flexibility as you work while continuing to be productive. The red zone is time dedicated to recharging.

Morgan provides charts to fill out and follow while giving examples of her own schedules to see how she implements them.

If this seems like a lot of work, it is. That’s why I said it’s not a book you can rush through. Take Back Your Time is for those genuinely serious about becoming super organized, redeeming their time, and accomplishing their priorities.

Full confession…I am nowhere close to being organized.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Christ’s Perfect Eraser

In the days before overhead projectors and smart boards, how many of you ever asked your teacher if you could erase the blackboard?

Oh, yeah. My hand’s raised.

It was a feeling of accomplishment wasn’t it? You pushed that black felt eraser back and forth, obliterating the words dear teacher scrawled all over the board.

Only no matter how hard you scrubbed, a trace of the written word remained on the board until it was washed clean with water.

Then I switched places and became the teacher erasing blackboards. Realizing how truly awful the task was, I welcomed the opportunity to delegate the job to eager little hands.

Chalk dust got all over the place. Even dustless chalk. It got on my hands. Particles flew through the air, and made me sneeze. Dust settled on my clothes. Residue rested in the dust tray, which I inevitably leaned against, leaving chalk streaks across my backside.

Not pretty.

Fortunately, I found an amazing new eraser made of foam or rubber of some sort instead of the usual black felt. This thing was the best. I loved, loved, loved it. This amazing eraser took away ALL the dust. It didn’t leave any residue behind. It was perfect.

Nothing remained of what once marred the board. Everything was erased. Everything was forgotten. Everything was washed clean.

So, I’m thinking…Christ has an amazing eraser like that, doesn’t he?

When our sins are erased through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, no residue remains. No faint reminder of our sins shows. Everything that once stained and marred us is gone.

Erased.

Forgotten.

Washed clean.

Satan’s not real happy with the fact Christ forgives and removes sin as far as the east is from the west. The Deceiver wants us to use the black felt eraser. He wants the residue of our sins to remain. He wants us to stay guilty and feel condemned. Satan wants us to walk around with chalk lines on our backside as reminders of all the times we tried and failed.

Jesus took all our sins upon his perfect sinless self. He nailed our sins to the cross through his tortured body. When we name Jesus LORD and King of our life, we don’t need to keep dredging up the past and its sins.

Jesus has an eraser that’s far superior to the foam one I used. Christ’s perfect eraser stretches from one scarred hand to the other.

Hanging on to past sins? Talk to Jesus. Let him forgive and make you whiter than snow.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honor him. As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. Psalm 103:11-12

I wish you well.

Sandy

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