Be Prepared! Be Kind, Too! (#BestOf)

Be Prepared! Be Kind, Too! (#BestOf)

This particular blog post reminded me of my striving to find kind, helpful acts of service EACH DAY in 2014. This is a wonderful reminder to me, to keep my eyes open and take every opportunity to be kind. (And, be prepared, too!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, May 20, 2014

you have a great smile

Be Prepared! Oh, and Be Kind, Too!

Today was a day to get things done. Two meetings accomplished, some computer work done, a bible study prepared, and some telephone calls made. Oh, and since it was Tuesday, I read to the preschoolers, too!

I noticed, too, that today was also a day of preparation. Preparing the bulletin for next Sunday’s service. Preparing the bible study for tomorrow, when I’ll have the opportunity to lead and facilitate the midweek bible study group. Both of my meetings were in preparation for various phases of ministry around the church. And two of my telephone calls were setting up other things around the church—other ways of preparing to be helpful in ministry.

I am getting into the swing of things around here. It seems that I am becoming more comfortable with the general day-to-day activities. However, I do not want to get too comfortable. If I do, then God tends to step in and gently (or sometimes not-so-gently!) shake things up. Occasionally, I’ve noticed that God will tend to shake me up. That’s okay, because the last thing in the world that I want to do is to get complacent! But still, it is disconcerting to get shaken up, even by God.

I have been praying regularly that God send me opportunities to be of service. I am aware that my sometimes-prayer to God is being answered, day by day. Sometimes in common, everyday kinds of ways (like when I smile at someone, and they thank me sincerely for my friendly smile!), and on occasion, in significant ways (like when I report on Feature Fridays, about the innovative and particular kinds of ministries to the hungry, the poor, the abused, the depressed ones in our world).

God keeps sending these opportunities to me. I keep fielding them, and keep on trying to be faithful. That’s it. I honestly try to be faithful to what God has for me to do. I know there are organizations in this world that try to do something, or try to be kind, or try to be of service. That’s wonderful! I encourage each one to find something that is meaningful to them, and do it with all their might! Or, perhaps some might want to find some outreach that is fulfilling and kind, and get fully behind it!

This search for acts of service, this Year of Being Kind is giving me far greater dividends than I ever expected. Even down to the personal gratitude, caring and appreciation that comes from getting out of myself and giving to others.

So, on top of everything else, was this a day of introspection? Yes. And, I pray it was a day of service to others. (And to myself.) God, I wonder what you’ll send my way tomorrow?

@chaplaineliza

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

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a PEACE journey through Lent and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons   from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Advertisements

A Tiring Day. A Day to Be Kind, Too?

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, October 12, 2014

What autumn is supposed to look like.  (Photo credit - Kevin Jones)

What autumn is supposed to look like.
(Photo credit – Kevin Jones)

A Tiring Day. A Day to Be Kind, Too?

Today was a good day. Enjoyable, busy, filled with hustle bustle. Greeting friends, acquaintances, and fellow congregation members. This was also the end of a hectic, week-long time of preparation. I did an enjoyable presentation yesterday morning, which was quite satisfying. But in terms of preparation and planning? I was running, running all week, doing both pastoral care and pastor-things, as well as preparation, planning and group facilitator things (for yesterday).

When I finally got home in the early afternoon, I was tired. Done in. Blitzed. Tuckered out. Even though everything I’ve been involved in for over a week has been enjoyable, worthwhile and rewarding, now that I am at the end of it, I still felt extremely tired. (Still am.) I put up my feet for a bit. That felt wonderful, to finally slow down and to relax.

Since the weather was so beautiful today (and it was! Simply gorgeous autumn day!), my husband and I went out later in the afternoon. We traveled to a park along the lake, and walked. Windswept, yet temperate day for mid-October. I enjoyed everything about our walk. The bright sun on the sand, the variegated color of the leaves. We even saw a newer park bench overlooking the lake under the trees with a plaque on it. The plaque read: “Honey, let’s go down to the lake” and the two names of the couple who gave that bench.

As we gazed at that plaque, I felt a whisper of sorrow, loss, yearning. My husband nodded when I communicated that feeling. “I think one or the other of that couple put that bench here with the plaque attached,” he thought out loud. “One of the couple passed on, and the remaining half donated that bench to the park district. That’s what I’m guessing.” I paused, next to the bench. I felt sorrow and emptiness for this couple. I truly did. And then, ran to catch up with my husband.

I smiled and nodded to a number of people who lived nearby that park. Including dogs, and their human companions. I looked forward to a low key evening, and decided then and there to strive to be kind as much as possible. Being particularly tired, I knew I would not be able to do much.

I wonder—do I still act in a kind manner, even when I’m tired to pieces? Interesting question. I wouldn’t like to find out anytime soon, though. God, help me to be kind, no matter what is going on all around me. No matter how exhausted I may be. Thanks for God’s help!

@chaplaineliza

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

Kindness Through Planning and Preparation

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, October 8, 2014

prayer and meditation

Kindness Through Planning and Preparation

My husband has the occasional dream (or is it nightmare?) where he is completely unprepared for a class. Different classes—middle school, high school, and sometimes college—with different specifics, but he always seems to be completely unprepared.

Me? I don’t remember my dreams. Well—that isn’t quite true. I rarely (and I mean, very, very rarely) remember my dreams. I might have similar dreams, like my husband. I just don’t remember them. However, I wouldn’t like to be caught unprepared, either. (Especially caught with my pants down, as has happened in my husband’s dreams now and then. Really.)

What does all this have to do with being kind, you ask? Great question! I am busily preparing for a morning of presentations and group facilitation, coming up soon. The presentation is going to be a morning of focus on prayer and meditation. A beginner’s overview, with some prayer practice built in during the final half hour. I’m excited! Enthused! Pumped! Oh, and I am wondering whether anyone will show up. *sigh* (That’s the nervous, anxious, nail-biting-me talking.)

Ultimately, who comes or doesn’t choose to come to the morning presentation doesn’t really matter. What matters is my stewardship. How faithfully and well I plan and prepare. I am providing service to others, and I hope those who attend the morning groups and presentation receive a blessing. And if they receive helpful, encouraging information, too, that’s an additional bonus!

I don’t usually talk about this here, but in addition to my Master of Divinity degree, I also am certified in the State of Illinois as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor (or, CADC). As I share about prayer and meditation and facilitate that group, I will also weave some basic recovery principles into the presentations. Spirituality, prayer, and meditation intersect and are closely aligned with the recovery program. A well-rounded understanding of prayer and meditation can be helpful to those who would also like a more thorough understanding of the recovery program.

So, yeah. That’s what I am busily involved in right now. Actually, it’s fascinating, finding so many intersections of prayer, meditation, and spirituality. Then, the practical side, the practice-part. And to add some spice to the mix, a healthy dose of recovery principles.

Is this being of service? Is it kind? Am I helpful? I hope so. I pray so. God willing, let it be so.

@chaplaineliza

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

Helping Through Spade Work

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, September 16, 2014

LOVE tell someone you love them

Helping Through Spade Work

When I used to help my mom with her garden in the backyard, I’d do all kinds of things. Mow and rake the grass, weed the garden, dig dandelions from the grass. Oh, and I’d do spade work. First thing, before anything else at the beginning of May, I’d dig up the two areas where she’d customarily plant her vegetables. On one side, usually she would plant beans and peppers. Next to the small sidewalk that went out to the back gate. On the far side of the yard by the neighbor’s garage (in a nice, sunny south exposure!), she would plant a number of tomato plants, usually two different varieties.

I remember doing the spade work, preparing the ground before I even thought of getting the plants. Mom would come out to watch what I was doing, and usually we would end up talking about the plants she was planning on putting in the garden, and which stores she would get them from. She wasn’t able to physically do heavy work any more. (I came alongside of her to do something she enjoyed so much. I was being kind!) She would always remind me about carefully digging up the soil and then breaking apart the larger clumps of dirt with a rake. I needed to make sure the soil was well-prepared before we planted.

That’s very much what I’ve been doing, last week and this week. Preparing the ground for a special Sunday coming up. World Communion Sunday. I want to make certain that everything is ready. I want this communion celebration to be special. Memorable. I know this is God’s house, and what we do here is worship of God. Our celebration each Sunday is for an audience of one—God! Naturally, I want it to be the best it can be. But I also want it to be meaningful and special to the congregation.

Thus, the extra spade work in preparing for the first Sunday in October. Making sure things are set, and special music is ready to go. (I still have to do more on that end.) At least the theme for the service and my sermon are already coming together. My good friend Bob, a retired minister, will be coming to assist me with the service. (It will be great to see Bob and his wife Gayle again!)

I hope I am doing good work in faithfully caring for this garden. The garden called St. Luke’s Church. I strive to be faithful, to preach, visit parishioners at the hospital and at home, teach bible studies, and provide pastoral care as best I can. I try my best to love the congregation, too. An older minister friend of mine said that was the most important thing—let the congregation know I love them.

Sprinkling a garden with love and caring? That always helps. God will provide the increase, too.

@chaplaineliza

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

Of Kindness and Computers, and Then Some!

A Year of Being Kind blog –Thursday, June 12, 2014

BK language deaf hear, blind see

Of Kindness and Computers, and Then Some!

What happens when you spend almost all day looking at a computer screen?

Well, not quite all day. I did do a little shopping for food. And I talked with a woman and her daughter at the store. We commiserated over the high prices. (And this was at a discount store!)

The woman and I exchanged a few comments over our carts, it’s true. But as we talked, I felt her open up. She took a step closer, and became more animated. I could tell she and I connected, even though it was only a brief conversation. And our talk was a genuine expression of emotion, of connection.

I am becoming more and more aware that I need to be a good example. As a pastor of a church, as a leader of that congregation, people are eager to connect. People are watching, too. I am so glad that this woman and I were able to connect, since that is something a pastor very much needs in their life. In their “tool bag” of character traits.

The computer work I did today was important! (Spending hours sweating and slaving over a hot monitor! *grin*) I had to write several reports for a meeting tomorrow. In addition, I got a decent start on Sunday’s sermon.

I’m glad I am disciplining myself to write with more fluidity (if not finesse). Since I need to write a fair amount each week, I want to make certain that what comes out of my fingertips is pretty good. I judge others on their poor presentation skills and grammatical mistakes. I would be so embarrassed if it were me. I probably might want to crawl into a deep hole and not come out. Until, say, at least the Black Hawks take to the ice again.

Just as several of my friends and acquaintances find themselves doing a good deal of computer work, I needed to get things done before I left the office today. And, in writing several different documents, I served as an advocate. I also acted as an investigative reporter, looking into the inside scoop!

God, thanks for the ease in preparation of these written tasks, reports, and help me to continue to be on the look-out for opportunities to be kind, to be of service.

@chaplaineliza

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