WELCOME! In the midst of each life's chaos exists a place of calm and sunshine. I call mine Contentment Cottage. It is the place where I write my stories and find the peace of God. I've posted my "Ice Pick" reviews and will continue to add some of what I call my "Ice Crystals": poems, articles, essays, fillers, and recipes.

Friday, January 21, 2011


"We have," St. Paul says, "different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." (Romans 12: 6-8)

For years I looked at this list and said, that's nice, but I have none of those gifts, and went on.

The other day it occurred to me that in fact I have ALL of these gifts. And so do you! So do all of us.

Do you not have the gift of showing mercy? To your children when they mess up? Your spouse when they disappoint you? Your pets? To your friends? To other people's children? To stray animals? To strangers? Do you not sometimes yield the way to someone whose car cuts you off in traffic or someone who cuts in line in front of you in the supermarket? That's showing mercy to them, but Paul is asking you to do it cheerfully, gracefully, with a smile. If you have to, remember the times you may have done the same, or the times someone did it and you suddenly recognized the person as an old friend and how your attitude changed, or imagine they have a sick child they are trying to rush home to.

Do you not have the gift of leadership? At home? At work? Almost everyone has someone looking up to them or depending on them. Even homeless people may have someone they are bringing food to or showing the way to a soup kitchen or a shelter. Paul is just telling you to work hard at it. Don't do a half-hearted job of parenting or supervising others at work.

Do you not have the gift of contributing to the needs of others? Your family? Your neighbors? Your church? Charities helping people or animals, local or far away? Do so generously.

Do you not have the gift of encouraging? Of course you do. We all can encourage others as we go through life, whether they are family members, the new employee where we work, the tired clerk or waitress, the frightened stranger who is lost, the sad-faced customer, everyone we come in contact with.

Do you not have the gift of teaching? Of course you do. You don't need to be a professional teacher to teach. You teach your children, your friends or strangers when you tell them about a new shortcut to town, your employees at work, and anyone you tell about Jesus.

Do you not have the gift of serving? Of course you do. We all serve one another in one way or another. Whether it is in housework or yardwork at home or the services we perform on the job, we need to do it cheerfully and diligently.

"Ah," you say, "but what can you do with prophesying? I am not a prophet." Not in the Biblical sense of a prophet, perhaps, but we all have the ability to look at a neighbor's kid and we've all heard ourselves say something like, "that kid's going to wind up in jail or worse if he doesn't straighten out." Or even, "that gal's going to end up in a ditch if she keeps driving like that on icy roads." We prophesy how our own kids are going to turn out, how things on the job are going to work out, how things in our country or the world are going to succeed or fail. You may be in charge of planning for a group, a business, a school, a church, or a government. We have the gift of forecasting the future based on our knowledge and experience. Paul is asking you to use it in proportion to your faith in God. Take Him into account in your planning.

We all have all the gifts we need. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in their use. We may be the only Gospel our neighbors ever read.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, January 20, 2011


"At once the Spirit sent Jesus out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him." (Mark 1:12-13 NIV)

Reading this, I was struck by the fact that in the same way we are all sent into the deserts of our lives.

In many ways our entire lives here on Earth are desert lives, desert experiences. "Forty" is the usual Biblical expression for "many," and can refer to our whole lifespan. And while we are here, we are all subject to the devil's temptations.

Wild animals can be both beautiful and very dangerous from snow leopards to mosquitoes, from grizzly bears to bacteria. They can be our friends or our enemies. Human animals can be the most frightening and deadly of all or the best of good friends and neighbors.

And unseen by us, our guardian angels always attend us, protecting and guiding.

Labels: , , , ,