Thursday, June 15, 2017

The New Normal

Not having internet available regularly has put a crimp in my style... it's also been really freeing, since I don't have internet. Duh.

I spend very little time even on my computer, using my phone (and unlimited data) to do most of my social media updates (follow me on Facebook at Marina's Kitchen Table). I'm posting there a lot. I've actually found a way to go from my BIG camera to my phone (via wireless internet on the phone!), then using PicMonkey Mobile I can edit my photos and add a watermark or copyright, and post them to my Facebook! I haven't figured out how to post from my phone here, so that will be the next thing I investigate. The Google phone apps take up so much memory, that it may not be an option... but I'll check it out.

I'm also able to post words to Meeting in the Meadow and the Team Expansion Prayer Force Blog on Facebook, if you're interested in following either of those. I am not yet putting photos up on either of those sites. I'm not sure if I'll be able to manage that or not, since I can't access ALL of my photos on my phone, just what I take now.

I thought that I'd share some of my recent photos here, since I'm able to (right now... this may change by the time I actually go to put them on here... but I'll try!).

Here are a few of the work that's been going on around here...

I recently painted the back door the same color as the front door... which is just a little brighter than the actual garage door ...

The south side of the back deck... 

The front door, which I painted and added a rice paper finish to give us some privacy on the window on the right.
I painted the garage doors (a bit darker than the front/back door), and Mark hung our compass. 

 And some shots from around the house...

Blossoms from my Meyer Lemon tree (planted in a pot with a Key Lime!). 

My first Key Lime!

The front porch area...

Pretty much every sunset looks like this right now. Sometimes there are clouds that make a delightful design in the sky, but because of the trees, I can't see much of the sky once the sun goes low. The lake reflects the sunlight, the colors of the sky, but again, there are only little patches of it between the trees. Still, it's enough to get us to exhale, breathe a little deeper, and praise God for our season here.

There's still a lot to do here to make it FEEL like home, but for now, this IS home, and that feels good. Mark has also set up one of our bird feeder stands, and the local birds are getting used to visiting one of the 4 feeders hanging from it. There is a wide variety of birds in the area, but mostly I've seen finches and tufted titmouse at the feeders here. The bald eagles have already migrated north, and although I hear a pilliated woodpecker in the area, I have yet to see him. It's only been a week, so I'll give them some time. Plus, I'm sure the woods around us, and the large bug population, are helping them fill their tummies now. There are some lovely birds down by the lake too, but I don't expect them to come up the hill to our houses for seeds. There's so much to learn in my new normal.

I'll post here when I can manage a strong enough signal to post, but remember, if you want to see my more frequent postings, or the other pages I manage, please catch us on Facebook! They are updated more often there than here!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book Review: Whispers of Rest, by Bonnie Gray

Book Review: Whispers of Rest, by Bonnie Gray
Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table

It's very early on Sunday morning and my husband and I are discussing the things I hope we accomplish today. Our household boxes have not arrived yet, so we sneak out to a coffee shop for breakfast before the church crowds arrive. My goal is to get the main rooms painted before the boxes arrive in two days. My husband tells me "We will need to take some time to rest today..." and I giggle back, "Well, YOU can take a rest, but I have too much to do!"

This is our 7th move in the 7 1/2 years that my husband has been with this company... some have been our initiating, one was God closing a door, one had no job change involved - God just sold our house when it wasn't even on the market! Each time there was a job change, God was so good to sell our home within a month of being listed. He doesn't let that happen all the time with everyone, yet each time we list it I give Him permission to do that again! Each time I'm unprepared to have the packers and movers come, and I'm a little anxious to get things in the new home and make sure everything arrives unbroken. I want to put "our touch" on the house, to make it "ours." Oh, and I want it all done yesterday!

As we wait for our food, my daughter calls (so early!) asking if we are free to meet in Nashville for the day. They live 2 hours to the north of there, and we have just moved to 2 1/2 hours to the south, so it's about half way.

As much as I love my daughter, her husband and their seven children, my heart sinks to my gut and I want to cry out "NO!"

We've just moved in 2 days before, and I've told myself (and my husband and our two other kids) that for the month we will not go anywhere or have anyone over, and I will spend every waking moment painting and repairing this 20 year old, new-to-us house before we unpack and get settled in. I need time to make it "ours."

A month. That's all I want.

I feel God push back.

"Yes." He whispers in His still, small voice.

My heart crumbles as I realize how MY PLAN for this move has just been hijacked, and HIS PLAN is going to unfold. Again.

MY PLAN was to get the house cleaned (because it wasn't clean when we closed on it) and painted before we moved in, to stay a few days or a week in our rental while we do the needed repairs and painting. HIS PLAN was for us to move in on the day of closing, emptying the rental, and cleaning it out first.

That didn't happen either. Again. MY PLAN doesn't seem to ever take shape or amount to much. I'm surprised I try to make a "MY PLAN" at all!

The trip to Nashville was great, with me napping most of the way (because the lists are all made and what else is there to do in the car when you're not driving?). I wasn't aware how tired I was. We spent a few hours over a relaxed lunch, kids giggling and hearts happy. My heart is happy too, as I get to see all of them in one visit, and I'm (mostly) relaxed and not trying to think about the long list of things I still want to do at home.

AND OH, the hugs. The hugs are healing and restoring to this grandkid starved grandma's heart. I have missed my grandkids. All of them.

And... I see my husband rest. THIS is what he needed, and God knew that. How selfish of me to put my agenda ahead of his mental health. I know how important rest is for us, and God knew that we wouldn't really rest until we were removed from the house and all the "to-do's" staring back at us. The moving and transition on top of his *more than* 40 hours a week job has worn him out too. I'm sure I've been a joy to live with during this also. Sigh.

The day is a gift from God.

The trip home is uneventful, and we get a few things done before heading to bed. I know that a little will get accomplished during the week, and we make plans to go deliver some household goods to our other daughter's house the following weekend. Two more grandkids live there, so we may as well spend the weekend, since it's Mother's Day.

Only a little painting gets done during the week. Baby steps.

Then a few grandkids come and stay with us for several days, and our son and his family come and visit for a long weekend. No one is bothered by the boxes, the ugly painted walls, the partially painted walls, or the lack of decor. They don't mind waiting for beds to be made, or towels folded. I'm the only one that's bothered by all the un-done-ness around us.

Life happens, and it's been a month since we moved in. MY PLAN for the month was shot down quick and hard, and HIS PLAN is working out well. His plan involves moments of rest, renewal, times of laughter, and even backgammon over dinner.

I retreat out on the back deck to re-arrange cushions and sneak a peek at the lake. A deep sigh sets in... no, a deep exhale. I'm able to breathe back in and repeat the task (it seems hard to breathe, with all this undone around me). This time I remember a mantra that I learned from a missionary friend years before...

(inhale):  "More of You, God."
(exhale): "Less of me."

I hear God whisper again, "We'll get it done. Breathe again. Feel me near you. Release all the stress."

I obey, and take a few more deep breaths, feeling His presence push out the anxiety.

He's going to get it done.

In HIS timing.

I received the invitation to be a part of Bonnie Gray's launch team for Whispers of Rest months ago, before we knew that we'd be moving again. I tend to not want to commit to doing things that involve reading, keeping up with an online group, or even writing a book review, in the middle of a move. That would be crazy! I'm so glad that HIS PLAN was for me to get in on this jewel! It was JUST what I needed in the midst of this crazy season!

If I gave you just a few words to describe Whispers of Rest, these are the words I'd use...

Personal: Although Bonnie has written it with specific instructions for us to follow, the book is very personal. Each feature to walk through is for our personal story.

Poetic: I loved the touches of poetry, either through scripture or poems that were written for the book. Even the devotions feel more like creative writing than Bible study.

Peaceful: Rest isn't rest unless it's peaceful, and there's a lot of peacefulness in here! Through every aspect of the book, I was able to feel peace in my spirit take place, leading to a time of rest.

Prayerful: Bonnie does a lovely job of leading us through a guided prayer each day. Again, these are personal, with lots of wiggle room, yet she leads us enough to know how to focus our prayer for that day's exercise.

I really loved this book, and look forward to following along through the Book Club that she's starting up NEXT MONDAY, JUNE 5th. You can learn all about it here!

(I received an advanced copy of Whispers of Rest from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review of the book. This page may contain affiliate marketing links.)