Pam Stitely

Whenever your life undergoes a big change, you need to adapt.  To bloom in your new situation you need to make changes.  Like a transplant in the garden, there are things that help a plant to thrive.  Pruning makes it easier for future nourishment.  As a person, a new life could start with a running of “things” that overwhelm a life style.

Water and sun are needed to sustain a new transplant.  A person needs personal contact as well as a positive outlook.  Smiles and a positive outlook help the roots grow strong.

Fertilizer gives the plant the extra strength to adapt to its new soil God’s love and support gives a person that extra boost to get through a change in their “soil” or life situation.  Those who lean on God’s strength and love will learn to bloom in the new changes in their lives.  Our existing soil may be rich or poor, but fertilizer will give the edge for growth.

Easter is a time for rebirth and a new life.  With the love and care that comes from our God, we can bloom in whatever situation we are planted.

PRAYER:  Lord, help me to be nurtured and grow in your love as I       face the new situations in my life.  Help me to lean on you and grow stronger with your support.  Amen



Karen Bartkowski

SCRIPTURE:  Romans 12:2

A couple of years ago, I read a book with a few of my friends. The book is called My One Word. In the beginning of the book the authors challenge those of us who make New Year’s resolutions. Do we really keep them? After a month or so, do we even remember what our resolutions were?

As an alternative, the authors walked us through the process of choosing one word to concentrate on throughout the year. The idea is that this one word will provide focus and allow you to concentrate and center on your vision. Deciding on your personal word takes about 4 weeks and involved some brainstorming, some directed self-reflection, and some conversation with people who know you well.

 Once we all determined our words, we made crafts such as magnets and signs for our cars with our personal word in order to keep the word in front of us, a regular reminder of our focus. We also knew each other's words, so that when situations arose where we knew our friends needed encouragement and support we could provide that by reminding them of their word. The goal was to keep your word for an entire year, think about it, use it and then look back to reflect on what it meant, how it helped you or even how it changed meaning.

This was a profound process for me. At that time, I was struggling in several areas of my life with feeling authentic. I felt easily swayed by other’s opinions or actions. I doubted many of my own decisions. I felt responsible for and spent a lot of time considering other’s opinions of me. I was unsatisfied in my job. I felt like I was letting down my kids and my husband when I had to work late or wanted to go out with my girlfriends. I felt like everything in my life was a question. Will I pack a healthy lunch or take my chances on who will want to order in at work? Will I confront a colleague who is spreading lies about me or just stay quiet and hope it blows over? Will I buy my son the new video game he wants even though I believe the content is too violent? Will I hang out at home and watch some ridiculous reality TV or go to the Y for Zumba? I was confused. I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. I knew I had to take control. I knew I needed to feel more empowered in my own abilities, opinions and actions.

After a month of reflection and a lot of support from my friends, I decided the word CHOOSE was my one word for the year and my scripture is Romans 12:2. Little did I know what kind of impact this would have on my life. Just acknowledging the freedom I had in choosing offered a peace. Just knowing there was always a choice or more than one right answer relaxed my Type A personality and relieved some stress. I came to learn that my choices were not only just OK, but good and right and even perfect. I began to recognize choices I didn’t even know existed. I allowed myself to spend time with my choosing and not making quick and poorly thought out decisions or commitments. This process began for me 3 years ago, and although I know I have changed, I still feel like I disappoint people easily, and I still make many choices based on other people’s opinions or needs. I chose to keep my word for the next year and it is still my word today

PRAYER:  Lord, Help me to ever consult and listen to you as I make decisions. Amen


Praise God with Song

Stephen Bobiak

Scripture:  Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs - Psalm 100: 1, 2

In my spiritual journey I have struggled with how to pray, particularly with how to praise God in prayer. It wasn’t until I learned to use my musical ability in songs of praise that I understood just how powerful it can be to praise God in that manner. Praising God with song is referenced throughout the scriptures. Psalm 100 is instructional for giving grateful praise with joyful songs.

In my music room there is a framed anonymous quotation that reads “Music is the greatest joy we mortals are to know, a little sound from heaven shared with us below.” How true that is for me. As I praise God in song I sense His Spirit filling me. Praise God for this wonderful gift.

PRAYER: “O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.”

“Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art. How great Thou art. Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art. How great Thou art!”

“How Great Thou Art” – Carl Boberg