“and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds,” Hebrews 10:24 AMP
Happy Tuesday! When everything starts getting routine in our lives, it’s a great time to try something new. What will you try?
One thing I have noticed that is important to everyone is to have encouragement during our trials, and when we feel especially weak. How long does it take for you to be worn down after a long day of work when the house is mess and the kids are begging? How about when your grown kids need help, but so do your parents?
Everyone is going through different struggles in their lives all the time. At the end of the day there are two things that matter: God and people. Things are not what is most important. Sometimes it is difficult to find a balance between work and caring for family. That’s when we need to ask God for help and truly depend on Him to help us.
A friend of mine recently lost her mother. It has been difficult for her. Not only does she need encouragement, she needs help with housework and her kids. As a Christian family this is when we need to pitch in to make a difference. Together we can help one another without wearing ourselves too thin.
Recently I have been humbled by my friends and how much support they have shown me with my new book. People I never expected have come out to help. It is wonderful to help and receive help.
“The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” Isaiah 32:16-17 NIV
It’s Try Something New Tuesday. Yesterday, my saved post disappeared. So, today, I’m trying a two-for-one special.
Have you ever thought “can things get any worse?” If you have, you are not alone. Unfortunately, the answer is YES! Take a look around. The more I listen to others, the more I realize things can be much worse. Yet, you may wonder why God’s people go through adversity. Jesus, himself, lived through horrible circumstances, including torture, before dying and being resurrected. Being a Christian doesn’t exempt us from adversity. However, adversity can further us in our spiritual journeys. We could never really understand the darkness others go through, if everything was always wonderful. Once we have lived through what we think is bad, we need to remember how it felt. Why? So we can be a blessing to others while they are going through the same.
Have you ever wanted someone to notice or recognize an accomplishment? Well, if your answer is yes, you are not alone. This is something I work on daily. When I have worked hard on a project, sometimes, I wish just one person would notice. The truth is they do. It is not necessary for them to validate my need for praise. Last week a coworker compared me to another person. She said we both needed attention, but I do good things to get attention. The other person, in contrast, does bad things to get attention. YIKES! I never thought of it that way. Although I said I was doing things to glorify God, I wasn’t bearing truthful witness.
What does it mean to be a truthful witness? It means you are someone who glows in the glory of doing God’s work. There is no need for praise or blame. Pure satisfaction is found solely in doing God’s work, whatever we are called to do. To bear truthful witness is to live in the peace of the LORD. Doesn’t that sound awesome! Although I’m not sure if anyone, other than Jesus, has been a perfect truthful witness, my husband is very good at this. Even if we are not always perfect, we can work to improve ourselves. This is one of the best ways to witness God’s love to others.
Today, imagine the Glory of God shining down upon you as you do his work. May God bless you.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
1 John 4:11 KJV
Happy Tuesday! One of the things I’m going to work on today is loving the people that get on my nerves. Is this a pride issue? Yes!
Have you ever felt like you are minding your own businesses and it seems like someone just wants to steal your joy? Maybe they are ignoring you or smacking when they eat. It could be even worse than that. Maybe they have done you wrong, physically or emotionally. You forgive them, but just don’t want to be in their presence.
The love mentioned in 1 John 4:11 is a type of love Jesus taught, where we are to love others expecting nothing in return. That also applies to people who get on our nerves. God loves us and surrounds us with love. One way we can show our love towards God is to love others as he loves us. I’m not saying this is easy or always happens immediately. It is something we should work on daily. While you are working on loving others, love yourself.
“As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
2 Corinthians 6:10 KJV
Good Morning and Happy Monday! Recently, our family received some bad news. Actually, it was more along the lines of devastating. Despite this news, we put on faces of happiness to hide the sorrow. Even when you pretend to laugh, it can be uplifting and before we knew it everyone one was full of joy, despite the sorrow. This reminded me of when my cousin died unexpectedly. We were all extremely sorrowful. My mother was unable to attend the funeral, because it was across the country. When she saw the photographs, she thought we were being disrespectful and having too much fun. The truth is we were comforting one another with stories from the past.
Can you be joyful during times of sorrow? As Christians joy is not determined by our circumstances, but in our faith in our destiny. While joy is mentioned throughout the Bible, at Christmas we are reminded that when Jesus was born there was great joy. While Paul was in prison, he expressed sorrow regarding his situation, but still rejoiced in Christ. Jesus said “[r]ejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”
(Matthew 5:12 KJV). So, even if you are being mistreated and are saddened by the situation, you can rejoice in knowing the future is bright.
During the holiday season many people are sad, because of family situations or loved ones who have passed. That’s okay, but find your joy in Jesus! God bless you.
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
James 4:4 NIV
Happy Wednesday! It seems a little more like hectic Wednesday here. We have the hustle and bustle of Christmas combined with people frantic to build roofs on their homes with more rain in the forecast. Nearly every building still standing in our town is without a roof or has a huge blue tarp.
Last week a friend and I went to see Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey in concert. We had VIP tickets, which made the event even more special. In the Q&A session, the two told of how they hadn’t realized how severe the destruction and damage associated with Hurricane Michael had been. It’s almost like we’ve been swept under the rug due to all the political events taking place. The concert was absolutely amazing! The singers collected gifts for children and visited an elementary school while in the area. I was surprised to learn yesterday that a friend of mine, who is from Milwaukee, went to school with Danny Gokey. It really is a small world if you think about it.
Have you ever felt like your life was spinning out-of-control? I felt that way recently. Sin is a slippery slope. Satan takes advantage of our weaknesses, which are always changing. Once we allow him to influence us, we grow further and further away from God. One of the most painful things a married couple can experience is an affair outside the marriage relationship. When we grow away from God, it’s like an affair with Satan. It’s amazing how quickly he can slip into our lives and turn us upside down. I couldn’t see it in my own life at first. Then, I heard the song below by Natalie Grant. “It’s hard to stand on shifting sand. It’s hard to shine in the shadows of the night.” For me the night was darkness. Darkness can be so overwhelming. Yet, before I allowed Satan to influence me, I was so happy. Now, once again I feel “like my soul is flying when my feet are on the ground.”
Have you ever felt this way? David struggled with darkness. Yet, he always sought to make God happy in everything he did. This is opposite of what the world teaches. We are taught to fight for positions, titles, awards and jobs, when the most important thing for us to strive for is God’s love and making God happy. You never have to be in the darkness. The battle has already been won. Just ask Christ to forgive you. If you haven’t accepted him as your Lord and Savior, it’s never too late.
When we are in the light with God, we can help more people. We can share the light, instead of the shadows of darkness. When you use your gifts to change the world today, share them in the light. God bless you.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”
James 1:19 NIV
Happy Wednesday! What a blessing it is to praise God after the storm!
We are five weeks after Hurricane Michael, and tempers are flaring. People are tired of the circumstances in which they are living. They are tired of fighting with insurance appraisers and FEMA representatives trying to obtain assistance. They are angry about the excessive traffic and undesirable visitors taking advantage of the situation. They are tired of the extra work and the way the town looks. Everyone longs for what used to be, and they are angry that the recovery has taken so long. The sad part is the recovery will take many more years. Our town has stopped in time, while the world has moved on. Halloween was cancelled and Thanksgiving doesn’t even seem important. Day-to-day is the reality.
It’s hard to be understanding when the attitude of pitching in and working together is gone. I was standing in line in the grocery store and a man came up to me and shouted something. I shook it off, because I understood. Another man walked up and shrugged his shoulders. This attitude has become common place at work.
What has happened is the community is going through a grieving process. The honeymoon stage of shock and feeling blessed has faded. Now the citizens of our town are oscillating between anger, bargaining and depression. When I say bargaining, I mean feelings and statements like “if only I had . . .”. There hasn’t been much acceptance that I’ve seen. This is very common from what I’ve been told. One or all of these feelings can be apparent separately or together in any order.
Have you ever known someone going through the grieving process? Have you been through the grieving process? Have you been through the grieving process with others, and had to try to keep your cool? Most of us can answer yes to one or all of these questions. It’s important to try to keep things in perspective as much as possible and remember what’s most important. Yet, when you break down, it’s okay. There is also nothing wrong with seeking assistance. It also helps to remember what James the Just said to be quick to listen, and slow to speak and anger.
If you are experiencing grief or helping someone who is, my heart goes out to you. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday. God bless you.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:5 NIV
It’s Saturday and a wonderful day to serve the Lord. I was looking forward to sleeping in this morning, but Dominic had other plans. I saw a cute meme that said if you want to remember to do something, give your cat a treat every time you do it, and the cat will remember. I find this theory to be absolutely true! The cat wakes me up to feed him. He is so sweet, when he’s hungry. So, no sleeping in for me.
Dominic also reminds me to give the dog a treat. As my husband says “dog goes out, cat gets treat!” Are people all that different? It’s interesting how little things bring back memories. Maybe it’s a song, or a scent. Sometimes someone says something, and a memory or dream comes to mind. Sometimes it might be just going somewhere, or completing a routine task. Unfortunately, all memories aren’t pleasant, and some are pleasant but are forever gone. It’s easy to see how depression sets in and can be hard to fight.
The key is to break the pattern. There’s been a great deal of research on this subject. Years ago I read some of Tony Robbins’ books. I recall him explaining how a person should do something drastic when they are feeling anxiety. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, next time you are in a position to speak publicly you might want to have a friend tell you a joke or do something silly. When you have a good experience, pinch yourself or do something to help you remember. Next time you have to speak publicly, pinch yourself and remember the good experience. Trust me when I say that I’m oversimplying and Tony explains this much better. His techniques definitely work and I encourage you to study his teachings. However, I would like to add God to this equation. (Tony doesn’t say God. He says “your creator”.) I was able to improve my public speaking with Tony’s techniques, but it was when I said “Lord speak through me” that my life began to change. When I put the focus on helping God and others, things began to turn around.
This morning I was reminded of something I didn’t want to remember. Have you ever regretted saying or doing something? It’s easy to get a little “bummed” (to use the words of a friend). I put in my AirPods and began cleaning house, when a Danny Gokey song began to play. I listened to him explain my own brokenness, but I began to smile and sing. You see, we all have regrets and sadness, but God wants us to rise and shut the door on our past so we can shine for Him.
This song served as a great interruption to my bad memory. It’s as soft as Dominic waking me up, and as powerful as someone shaking me to get my attention. That was probably God using Danny’s Gokey to remind me of the power we have available through Him. Regardless to what has happened in your life, God wants you to shine and help others. I hope you enjoy the song and the day! God bless you.
“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul.”
Psalm 146:1 NIV
Happy Friday! It’s a great day to spread God’s love.
Have you ever considered the pureness of your heart? Most of us can fake kindness or put on a good attitude around people, when things are going well. However, when things get tough on the outside, the real person shines through. This morning I’m mindful of David pouring his heart out to God in praise, despite the fact that King Saul was trying to kill him. Even when his son Absalom tried to overthrow him, David refused to fight or even allow someone to speak badly about Absalom. He just wanted to praise God.
It’s difficult to put David’s actions into a modern perspective. The world tells us to look out for ourselves first and fight for our rights regardless of who are what is in the way. It’s a dog eat dog world. Yet, we know that we are to seek pleasing God first and foremost. I think it is probably something we all need to work on every day. Yet, what better way to spread the love of God. If you are stressed, angry, sick or in pain and your pure heart shines through, everyone sees it.
Today, spread God’s love through a pure heart. God bless you.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5 NIV
Good Morning and happy Saturday! I apologize for being behind on my postings. I haven’t forgotten about my viewers. Natural disasters are something people are probably never 100 percent prepared to handle. This post is a running diary of events that have taken place in my life over the last week and a half. The lesson follows.
Tell Me Something Good Monday (10/08/18)
Happy Monday! It’s a great time to share something good. This morning I’m thankful for messages from God. While in church yesterday morning, I received a reminder to listen to a worship service on the Rhema app. This was the second time this happened and I wasn’t signed into the app. Well, it was a busy day and I forgot about the message. Later in the afternoon I received another reminder for the evening service. So, my husband and I decided to listen. What a blessing from God. The sermon was about trusting in God and not in things.
Try Something New Tuesday (10/09/18)
Hurricane Michael is on its way. While we are working today, everyone is boarding up and preparing for the storm. Our town is about 60 – 70 miles inland and we have seen many category 2 hurricanes. The biggest threat our area has is flooding and tornadoes from the feeder bands. This may sound mild, but tornadoes have caused severe damage in the past. Often Floridians become complacent because hurricanes are unpredictable and common. Over the years I’ve seen hurricanes change directions many times. Even with today’s technology, it’s easy to fail to prepare.
Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday (10/10/2018)
Good Morning. Last night we stood in line waiting for hours to purchase last-minute items. I’m thankful that I was able to fuel up my car Monday night. Our daughter, Anna, and grandson, Landon spent the night, and we are glued to the television waiting for the upcoming storm. Our son-in-law is in the National Guard but was called to work in a local prison. This morning my supervisor, the City Manager of our town, asked me to notify my staff that they should stay home on Thursday. This action caught my attention because he is very mindful of good management. The radar images are a little frightening, but also fascinating. It’s amazing to watch science advancements. We even had a discussion about how it must have been for people years ago when hurricanes couldn’t be predicted. One way we can use our gifts to change the world today is to be strong and trust God.
Forgiveness Thursday (10/11/2018)
The eye wall of Hurricane Michael passed over our home at about 2 pm yesterday. I’ve never seen anything like this storm. The view from our windows was solid white. Visibility was less than two feet. Repeatedly we heard and felt objects pivoting out of control into our home. There was a loud roar like a jet flying over as the eye-wall passed. The windows and doors shook. We closed all doors internal to our home and sheltered inside, first an internal hall and later a closet, all the while trying to keep Landon feeling safe and not afraid. During the eye of the storm, we ventured out to see what seemed like horrible destruction. Then, we hurried in to safety and rode out the back eye-wall. The second two hours was just as bad as the first. Our next trip outside seemed like total devastation.
Mornings are always better. I don’t know if it was the fresh light or God’s presence, but as we walked through our yard I became aware of how blessed we truly are. Five huge oak trees, a pine tree, and many other trees were down in our yard. One oak tree in particular that was once majestic is now a twig. Our fence was destroyed. The really cool thing was my husband’s grill didn’t budge, there was only one limb on our roof and trees down were as close as 6 inches to our home, but we were safe. God is so good.
Despite the good blessings, all we can see is destruction around us. There is no electricity, phone service, cellular reception, water, Internet, etc. My We are isolated. We were able to see the weather channel for a short period of time when we had fuel in the generator, and while Britt repaired the well and water pump. However, there is no news of our community. We don’t know what to do about jobs. We can’t contact anyone. Occasionally, we receive a text that we can’t respond to from frantic family members. We have heard rumors of natural gas fuel leaks, sewer plant leaks and other issues, but we just can’t assess the situation. It’s hot and tempers are short.
By afternoon the generator was out of fuel. My first thought was to siphon some fuel from one of the vehicles. It sounded like a good idea, but modern vehicles are made to prevent such things, probably due to theft. We finally decided to try to find fuel for the generator despite apparent dangers. That’s when we discovered we were totally blocked in. We were able to maneuver around all trees on our road. Then we carefully traveled around downed trees, spaghetti power lines and downed poles on the highways to drive about an hour north. There we found long lines for fuel, when it was available. In a society where cash was rarely needed, now credit cards were no good. No cash means no gas. We thankfully live next door to my husband’s parents who gave us cash to purchase fuel. This small task took more than four hours and placed us in position of maneuvering the same obstacles at night and after curfew. If we were not allowed to return home, where would we go? What would happen to our pets? At times like these patience is important and that’s when it’s the toughest.
We did make it through. While we were out of the house, we saw devastation beyond our imagination. We were able to see photos of some of the damage in our area. We made contact with some of our loved ones and were able to understand a little more about the extent of damage in the area. We were also able to make contact with our son. He lives in Tallahassee and we are so thankful that he is okay. Isolation is difficult to handle. We also learned the company my husband works for is critically damaged. I recalled the many people who didn’t want to build to State and Federal standards, and often took out their frustrations on my staff and me.
Today was definitely a day to ask for forgiveness and forgive others.
Spread the Love Friday (10/12/018)
It’s Spread the Love Friday! What now? My husband and I started the day with morning Bible Study. Coffee is a luxury item. By the way, it’s hard to keep track of days. This morning I had one bar on my cell phone and was able to speak to my boss.
Today, there is a new level of desperation. People are looting houses, businesses and offices. Business owners I spent so much time assisting are now facing devastation. One contacted me begging me not to condemn the building housing her business. My heart melts. I learned that the home of a sweet friend from church, whose husband died only a couple of months ago, was looted. People have been waiting for many hours in line at gas stations that don’t have fuel. Some need medication. It’s a little cooler, but still very warm. My heart goes to my coworkers who are working hours on end, and my friend, who is interim County Administrator and still on maternity leave who has been on call.
The best way to spread God’s love seems to be a comfort to others.
Last night we learned my brother and sister-in-Law are alive. They finally cut their way out of their home yesterday. My aunt was able to leave town too, which made me especially grateful since she has medical needs and lives alone. On the home front, my wonderful husband cooked us a hot meal on the grill. Britt is definitely gifted in his cooking skills. He made shepherds pie in a cast iron skillet. Haha. It’s amazing what can be done with a few supplies, but we are aware our supplies will dwindle with time. After dinner Anna heard someone in the house. As it turned out, it was Dominic playing in Landon’s toddler tent. What a relief!
This morning we were greeted by our son-in-Law. What a great sight! They took a drive into town and reported back no damage to their home. We still do not have much contact with the outside world. However, I did hear from my friend and her daughter who are blocked in and low on water. It’s hard to find help for people. Help is stretched thin.
This afternoon we took another road trip for supplies. Some areas look better. While I was away, I was able to make contact with family and friends. I was also happy to receive a phone call from my boss, who was checking on me. I was so excited to hear that he needed me and my staff on Monday at work to help rebuild the city. In some ways this is a bit too soon, but after investing twenty years in this community I can hardly wait. On the way home we heard a Laura Story song on the radio and we had a discussion about the future of our town.
Tomorrow was supposed to be a special celebration at our church. Our church is among the damaged structures.
Praise the Lord it’s Sunday! The last few days are a blur and I feel exhausted with the situation. This morning we chose to stay home and study our Bibles. As I was reading I realized the importance of helping others. So Britt and I reached out. It’s so easy to hoard supplies when they are running low, but God provides when we have faith. Of course, I already knew this, but trials don’t always bring out the best in us.
This afternoon we surveyed the damage. The City is destroyed. We also checked on a couple of friends along the way. Tomorrow we both return to work.
Tell me Something Good Monday (10/15/2018)
It’s Monday and tough to go to work with messy wet hair and a sweaty body. I did manage to wash my clothes and get a cold shower. This is one of those days I wish I could wake up beautiful. I soon discovered that many had worse damage than we had experienced. Emotions were high and I watched my coworkers as they broke down in tears. I cried too. I tried to reach out to those in need.
My department’s assignment was to walk the streets and pick up trash. That was very tough. Within an hour the heat had gotten the best of me. I poured water over my head and down my back. Another department head had left his utility vehicle and trailer for our use, which worked out well. We delivered food to shut-ins in the community. What a great feeling to help others.
City workers have been blessed beyond belief with free food and fire, police, and linemen workers from around the country helping us. Everyone is positive and doing all that they can to help.
Try Something New Tuesday (10/16/18)
It’s Try Something New Tuesday and I was glad to get a different assignment. While that seemed to work out, tempers seem to flare with anxiety. I started the day with tears and felt pressure all day. Most of the day we worked inside. Later in the day I learned of an income based apartment complex requiring residences to move out within 72 hours. So far, there is no resolution. So sad.
Last year after Christmas I purchased a ticket with a friend for the Joyce Meyer’s Love Life Women’s Conference. In July I learned my friend would not be attending with me. I was thankful she gave me her ticket hoping to invite another friend to join me, and share hotel and travel expenses. I had not been able to find anyone, because as the year progressed my friends had made other plans. I had been waiting for the conference to be in Florida for years, and with tears in my eyes I tried to cancel my hotel room. I was unable to accomplish what seemed like a simple task. However, I was able to reduce my stay by one night and my sweet administrative assistant agreed to go. What a blessing! So, next week we will be gone a couple of days. It’s not the ideal time, but it will probably renew our spirits.
Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday (10/17/18)
It’s Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday and I feel worn out from stress and work. Last night I went to bed about six pm, because I couldn’t seem to hold my eyes open. The day started with me preparing some maps for an early meeting without the Internet, but I was happy because I had figured out a way to use my blow dryer before leaving home. I was also glad to be working on a project with another department. It gave me a chance to do something positive.
I was grateful to receive a special gift from my staff for boss’s day. What an honor! I also had an opportunity to deliver 250 meals to shut-ins. I hope to be able to do this tomorrow. The saga of the people being forced to leave their apartment complex continues. I hope this can be stopped.
Forgiveness Thursday 10/18/2018
It’s Forgiveness Thursday. I need to ask for forgiveness for my tongue. It’s easy to get short-tempered and you never know who’s listening. As someone representing city government, it’s important to be positive and smile. Yet, I find myself crying sometimes.
We are having daily Department Head Meetings where State, electric company, solid waste and other professionals are giving reports. Most rumors are untrue. I also noticed water levels are rising, but flooding is minimal at this point. All week there have been people giving out food and helping the community, despite their own situations.
Spread the Love Friday (10/19/2018)
It’s Spread the Love Friday. Between having staff at the Emergency Operations Center and one person out taking care of personal business, I’m left with my code enforcement officer and myself. We started the morning comforting each other. One thing that I can’t stress enough is how even when we trust God, we can still feel stress and emotions.
I looked around this morning in our meeting and realized that it’s easy to get caught up in our circumstances and forget what is going on behind the scenes. I saw sleeping eyes and exhausted workers. These folks have been working non-stop for days to ensure we have the things we take for granted, like rivers free from human wastes; hospitals and nursing homes where people are comfortable; trash removal; streets where people can drive safely, electricity and other utilities; and so much more. Often behind the scenes workers go unnoticed, but they contribute greatly to our quality of life.
During the course of the day, I contacted other cities to find out what they had done for emergency relief after storms. Everyone I called was beyond helpful. What a blessing! I worked late trying to take care of business, which helped me to feel a little relief.
Time for Yourself and Family Saturday (10/20/2018)
Good morning. It’s Time for Yourself and Family Saturday, and I’m at work. We have a City Commission Meeting today, where one of things I’m going to be addressing is how to temporarily change development and permitting requirements to make things easier for our citizens. After I catch up on work, if I have time, I will try to catch up on some school work. With no Internet, cell phone or electricity at home, it’s hard to study and I’ve fallen behind. We are hoping to have electricity by Halloween.
I did have a nice morning chatting with Anna over iced coffee. I’m so blessed to have a wonderful family. My husband and I talked this morning about how blessed we are. So many people had much worse. Anna also mentioned she saw where bodies were washing on shore and families were being found dead in their homes. I have lived here 52 years and we have never seen anything like this.
No one could have known and therefore, very few were prepared.
This morning I’m reminded of the sermon I heard on the Rhema app. The minister said we need to trust in God, not in things. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to “lean not on your own understanding”. It’s true. No one could possibly understand the whys of the past couple of weeks. In Philippians 4:6 Paul instructed the people to not be anxious about anything, but to always turn to God with prayer, petition and thanksgiving. You may wonder what there is to be thankful for in this type of situation. I can tell you everyone I have spoken to is thankful to be alive. In fact, every person I have asked how they were, despite how much damage they have had, they all say I’m blessed. Guess what? It is difficult to unplug from technology and take cold showers, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, I’m beginning to get accustomed to my new routine. There are some inconveniences at work that require extra steps that take more time, but we are working through it. Sometimes loss of things and trust in God brings us closer together as a community. After all, it’s not things that bring happiness. We are taught in Matthew 22 that what’s most important is to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Natural disasters remind us of the importance of these simple teachings. Maybe Laura Story is right. Maybe our blessing come in raindrops and the trials of our lives are our mercies in disguise.