The Power and Danger of Social Media

Social media has made it possible to connect with others I might never come in contact with in off screen life. Navigating the vast arena of the internet provides both power and danger. I must be alert to the dangers not only from others but also the danger I might create unthinkingly.

My word for 2021 is hope. When January arrived my plan was to share words of hope every day on my Facebook platform. With so much pain and fear infesting lives due to the changes from COVID19 virus, I wanted to speak positive thoughts and hope to uplift anyone who read my morning posts. Then I fell into two traps.

The first was realizing I was obsessed with wanting to know if anyone read my post and if they liked it or had given me any comments. With this awakening came the possibility I was using the platform for my selfish reasons, not for the purpose I wanted. I feared I was taking glory for myself and not giving it to God. Instead of learning from this and changing the amount of time I spent “checking” statuses, I backed away altogether. I took a leave of absence and stopped posting for a few days.

Trap two came quickly after I resumed my Facebook presence. Oh, the negativity I saw on Facebook and all the hate!! I never responded to any of these and quickly began scrolling past all of them. I decided there were “friends” I needed to delete. So easy to push a button and remove someone from my online life. I changed my account to “friends only.” What had I accomplished? Actually, the problem wasn’t with anyone but myself. I believed all the negativity would be removed from my online life. Just like not tuning into the news on a daily basis had eliminated my mind being flooded with fear and anger.

What happened was another removal of myself from Facebook. I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself. What?!? What do I mean by that? I am an introvert. My Facebook platform was meant to be a ministry. God created me with a passion to feel others’ pain and grief and want to offer hope of healing through Jesus. To do this I needed Facebook. I needed connections. I needed to find a balance and I needed be brave enough to be honest and engage in a way to show I care.

In a devotional today, I read: “Doing community in the no-man’s-land of social media can be tough.” (Walking in Grace, Dalene Reyburn). Though I may be connected to a large multitude of people, I’m still isolated. I want to share truth, hope, and love in an honest way and let God do the rest.

Lifting my cup of tea on this beautiful fall day as I tell God, “Here I am, Lord.”

Trusting in Today’s World

Jesus always provides what we need in His perfect timing. He’s proven this over and over again in my life. Living within the limits of my monthly income becomes more difficult as the costs continue to rise while my income remains the same.

True stories: Recently I needed a new outfit to wear to a wedding. I found the perfect solution for a reasonable price. Three days later, I received a refund on my escrow account for the same amount! Two years ago I needed another small amount to cover an unexpected bill and a few days later I received a refund check for a copay. There are many, many other stories over the years.

I might have trouble trusting some people in my life, and yes, I’ve been let down by some I’ve trusted. But never, ever has Jesus let me down! I trust Him completely. Life includes struggles, but every storm is temporary. And Jesus walks with us through the terrible times as well as the good ones.

What does He ask in return?

He will love us and patiently stand and knock on the door of our heart. When we open the door, He will take up residence and change us into a new and better person. He asks us to believe and to obey by loving God with all our hearts, souls, and minds and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And He makes a home for us in Heaven where we will live with Him for eternity when we leave our temporary earthly home.

The Bible and my faith tells me all this is true. He is trustworthy. He keeps His promises. This He proves over and over again in my sinful life.

I trust Him with my life. Lifting my cup of tea with a heart filled with gratitude.

Daughter Time

Today I’m going shopping with my daughter. What I want to find is something to wear to a wedding the end of October. I have no appropriate type clothing. Most of my clothes are T-shirts and jeans or capris. My wardrobe has changed a lot over the years. My closet looks nothing like it did 20 years ago. Shopping for clothing is not something I like to do. Thus, my wardrobe!

Occasionally I will purchase something through a mail catalogue, but again just to replace an old shirt that has worn out. Or I will purchase a shirt from church. Sigh. But a wedding…that calls for a shopping trip. The only thing that appeals to me about this shopping excursion is having breakfast and sharing time with my daughter! I have to laugh at myself. I’m a different person now that I’m a senior. I remember a time when weekends were for shopping! Shopping was fun!

I know I’ll be worn out completely when I get back home. But another joy awaits me in the afternoon. I will be skyping with another daughter. And so, I lift my cup of tea and give thanks for this day and the opportunities that await! And, Lord, if it is in Your will, let me find a nice outfit to wear at an affordable price!

MY PEACE I GIVE YOU, NOT AS THE WORLD GIVES…

Yesterday I finished a puzzle. As I worked on it, I had fun discovering little things I hadn’t seen in the picture guide. A little butterfly, two birds, beautiful vases… It reminded me how each day brings new surprises and insights to my life. I’m a happy person. Happier than I was when I was younger.

There were struggles, much the same as I have now, but then there were children that factored into the struggles. They were my primary focus. I wanted them to be happy; I wanted them to be respectful; I wanted them to learn what is really important in life. I wanted them to not be hungry for food or love. I wasn’t the best of mothers, but I did my best. There were times I failed them, times I cried for them, times my heart ached for them. But through it all, I loved them with all my heart.

Seeing the wonderful women and mothers the girls have become makes my heart smile. It’s part of the total happiness in my life. I have a peace inside that has replaced the compartment of worry. It is a gift from God. Maybe this is part of God’s aging plan. A staging place where I rest and reevaluate my priorities. A time of looking back and seeing how He sustained me and led me even when I didn’t notice. A place where my weary body slows down while my mind remains active. My soul is now looking more toward eternity than into things that don’t matter.

Peace He has given me. His promises are true. He is trustworthy and faithful, and was even during the times I doubted. Now in each day I discover new things. Like the sound of tranquility in the gentle rain and God’s voice whispering love through the breeze lifting my hair. Never have I felt Him so near in every waking moment. I am a happy person.

Lifting my cup of tea on this cool and rainy morning and giving thanks to God for His kindness and love.

GIVE IT TO GOD

One of the most difficult things I’ve learned over the past few years is how to give my concerns to God. Easily said, but not always easy to do. I used to tell God I was giving Him something, but found days or hours later, I was worrying and fussing about the same thing all over again!

I have a prayer wall. On it, I hang scriptures that speak to me, prayers, and my concerns. These concerns are the things that can suck me into fear and worry…things I can’t really control. God gives me wisdom to know there are steps I can take to assist with certain things like health and finances, but in order not to worry, but to trust God, I need to put my faith in Him and let Him carry these heavy burdens for me. God gives me a peace I cannot describe other than as a peace that passes understanding about these things…once I have given them to Him.

What is the key to giving all these to God and NOT TAKING THEM BACK? For me it was remembering I would not give something to any of my earthly friends and then snatch it back again. Being able to give God our burdens is a privilege God grants us. So we give back to Him by trusting Him to take care of them. Taking them back means we don’t trust Him.

Lifting my cup of tea as I watch dark storm clouds pass overhead in a heavily overcast sky. The darkness moves across the sky but not a drop of rain falls. I’m always amazed when I watch what God is doing through my office window. He is powerful. He can do what He says He can do. So I expect to see God do greater things in the days to come!

What I See in the Rain

After many hot, dry days, this morning it is overcast and raining. Right now it is a gentle, soft rain as if to prepare the ground for more to come. This rain from God is calling the trees, grass, and foliage to stand straighter, to cool the parched places and take hope in what is to come. God is giving life to the dying.

As things cool and the air becomes easier to breathe, I stand with my arms outstretched. Little droplets fall on my skin cooled by the breezes blowing through the trees. The windchimes tinkle. I am refreshed.

This temporary home has not been forgotten. God is working. He is changing something right now. Through faith in Him, I know I have a secure inheritance in Heaven. Jesus is coming again. All things will be made new. I will be reunited with loved ones from whom I have been temporarily separated. God’s promises can be trusted. While the world changes, He remains the same. In that knowledge, I have eternal hope.

Thank You, God, for this rain. This sign of hope. This drink of life. This time to still, breathe, and be thankful. Sitting at my porch table with dampened skin, sipping my tea, smiling, and thinking I love a rainy day.

A Moment of Stillness in a Lifeless Scene

This morning a light fog is slowly receding across the grass toward the pond. A Canadian goose flies upward and disappears. All is now still. Where has the life gone? It’s as if I’m looking at a photograph. My breath slows as I watch. Nothing, not a breath of air is moving. The fog seems to be rolling toward me, not away. And I wait, suspenseful, for the first wink of sun to break through the heavily covered sky. As if a bubble encloses me in this lifeless scene. And I breathe. But the stillness remains.

And then…a small bird flits across the scene and lands on a wire. Two more follow. Another to the top of the trees. They wait with me. Waiting for something…more.

Lifting my cup of tea this morning after letting my eyes transfer the words I’m seeing to be seen through another’s eyes.

Relationship – Forty One Years and Counting

Today I’m having lunch with my sister. Not my biological sister, but she is part of my family. She is my sister of the heart, my sister in Christ. We met 41 years ago. We’ve shared a lot through the years. Lots of tears, lots of laughter, and a lot of meals. When we worked at the same company, we shared a lot of lunches together. We and our husbands shared dinner together. We went on long overnight shopping trips, vacations to Georgia and Florida, including a humorous “cruise.”

We lifted each other up when God called our husbands home. We rejoiced over the arrival of grandchildren and great grandchildren. And now, we share our aging gracefully years, a lot of time over the telephone. But today we will hug and laugh, wipe away a few tears, pray, and break bread together.

We all need friends. Many will come into our lives for a season, and a few will remain for a lifetime. We need to cherish and nurture the relationships with the people God places in our lives. Our pastor challenged us to begin each morning with prayer and a commitment to do what God wants us to do, say what God wants us to say, and live like God wants us to live (a life like Jesus). As I think about this commitment each morning, I also think of the relationships in my life. Number one being with Jesus, followed closely by family, including those I call sisters, brothers, and friends. The morning commitment gives me joy, a feeling that my heart is going to burst from my chest. A fullness of the Holy Spirit just waiting to spill out into the world. And I’m thankful, grateful.

So, today I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my BFF. What new memories will we make today? Only God knows, but whatever this day brings, love will abound. Lifting my cup of tea and asking God to bless each person who reads this blog. May your heart be open to receive the blessings He will provide.

The Person Behind the Mirror

Every day I tell my cat, “We are two old souls living together and thanking God for our blessings.” It’s easy to look at Templeton and see how the years have changed him. As for me, I dread looking in the mirror. Who is that person staring back at me? Certainly not the person I feel I am! It’s a little depressing to see what others see when I’m with them. They can’t see the real person. Not the one who knows life is eternal.

I’m still a person who wants to do all the things I used to do. But when I’m with my children, especially when they are being my transportation, I feel like an old woman. I even talk and react like an old woman. Why? Because I see who I used to be in them…in their lives.rLiving alone it’s easy to forget how much I’ve changed. I still manage to accomplish what needs to be done, and I look at the results with a happy heart. I talk mostly in my mind, sometimes writing the words on paper or on this blank white computer screen. This is my life now. And it’s good.

When I’m with my friends of a similar age, I can be myself and feel comfortable. We have things in common. We can share our feelings, things we don’t always share with our children. I remember calling my mom and talking to her. I’d share what was happening in my life and she’d share from her life. I didn’t know the people she talked about she thought I should remember. Once after dad passed, she said to me, “You don’t have to call me every night.” I will never forget that moment. I was trying to keep her uplifted, but I suppose she knew that and my calls were simply a reminder she was alone and she was old. One of the things I did was criticize what she chose to eat for dinner. Now I understand.

Our lives change constantly and one day each of us will be faced with the reality that we are older than we think. I’m still living a happy life. I’m still grateful for each day. I love God. I love learning. I just wish my mind could accept the changes in the mirror! Lifting my cup of tea and wishing all of you a day to remember to let the beauty inside shine through the outer layers of your life, no matter your physical age.

Aging Gracefully Isn’t Easy

Sometimes aging gracefully isn’t easy. It’s difficult to accept slowing down is inevitable. I see myself still in PJ’s late into the morning. I find myself resting between chores. I need reminders that it’s all right to take whatever time is needed…there is no longer any need to rush.

We condition ourselves to rush through life when we are raising families and working. There is no time to rest. It’s go, go, go to get as much accomplished as possible. Balancing children’s needs, activities, meals, cleaning house, laundry, grocery shopping, and maybe squeezing in a little time for ourselves.

Then retirement comes. Sometimes that brings other responsibilities, like caring for parents or a spouse. One day we might wake up and find we are alone with no major responsibilities at all. So how do we accept this freedom in our day? Do we embrace it wholeheartedly or fill it with hobbies or other activities? Can we find a compromise? Can we accept when the body begins to give out, but the soul is eternal?

There are days when I embrace the new flexibility I have in my life, though there is less in my body. Other days it is hard to look at myself as normal. Why am I sitting inside my house in my PJs instead of being outdoors walking? Yes, the pandemic has made me more of an introvert than ever. I don’t get the necessary exercise I need to help with my heart disease and diabetes. But my body rebels when it is pushed. What is one to do?

I have an exercise machine in my house. This is how I manage to get my body moving and my heart pumping. I can even watch television or listen to a book at the same time. One more way to embrace the introvert self.

And so I ask myself the question, am I aging gracefully? Or just finding excuses to be lazy? Lifting my cup of tea this morning as I contemplate these questions while writing a blog in my recliner. Wishing you a blessed day!