Sunday, June 30, 2013

Today

Today, a cool front has passed through, and it's actually cool outside. I've opened windows and am preparing to go pull grass and weeds from the flowers. (This is not a chore to me, it's a relaxing, prayerful, meditative thing I do while listening to worship music or in quiet - listening for His voice.) I may need to start with a sweatshirt over my strappy sundress, there's a lot of clouds covering the deep blue I saw last night on my walk. 

Last night's sunset.
Last night was tough...the first alone again after so many spent with a house full of laughter, little feet, and love. It was hard for me to remember what my "normal" was...nearly 3 weeks of company in and out, and Mark home for much of it. Now it's back to Abbey and I - and that's ok. Mark will be in and out this week, and for that I'm grateful. July will be busy for both of us and I know that we'll have to sneak away moments to treasure. I've got to work on keeping that romance alive!! ;) 

I've also got to continue working to put this house back together...I was able to complete about 1/3 of it yesterday; beds stripped and re-made, bathroom cleaned, dusting and vacuuming. I hope to get another 1/3 done today, and the last of it completed later this week. It has turned into a mini-spring cleaning, going through clothes closets and re-organizing things. It feels really good to get it done!

Between all this, and around it, I'm working on my blog, with my DaySpring work, and on *wHim* - Women Helping In Missions/Missionary Care. I had said that July 1 would be my day to reopen my manuscript, and as it looms before me I feel great anticipation to get to work on it, but am VERY prayerful that I will be writing what needs to be said, and not just writing for the sake of writing. I'm blessed to have a few friends offer to help with editing, and I will take them up on it. Although it's not going to be *for sale* online, it will be available for free - and I hope that folks will open it and read it and USE it!! I pray it will be a blessing to those that feel God's prompt to get involved (or start) a Missionary Care Team in their church, and ultimately that it ripples around the world in blessing our Missionaries (or Global Workers, as some churches call them). I want it to be a work of excellence - not just thrown together, and I pray that it will be a blessing to the body of Christ. An offering to God. 

Today I opened my email and found a great message in the (in)courage Sunday Scripture. You can view it here. Such a good reminder that we ARE called to live in freedom. I was impressed on by God that this is not a political freedom, but a spiritual one. I'm constantly enslaving myself to sin; through worry, opinions, believing Satan's lies.. oh I could go on! I need to WALK and LIVE and BREATHE the freedom that I have through Jesus Christ! Amen?? 

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. 
But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.
Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”


I pray that YOUR TODAY is filled with that FREEDOM too. No matter where you are, cling to the freedom found in Jesus. Choose to walk with Him, through whatever situation enslaves you - claim His freedom!! 


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Prompt - "In Between"

Sigh. It's late and I want to do this FMF post with Lisa-Jo Baker and her gang. Five minutes (flat) of writing. No track backs, corrections, just writing frenzy and free. 

You can read the rules here.


START

I'm stuck IN BETWEEN two thoughts, ideas, blogs and seemingly worlds. It can be so confusing sometimes. Yet in my mind, when I think deep in prayer, it's crystal clear. 

I still dream of being in church in Indiana, at Crossroads in Newburgh. My dreams take me there about every other night. Good dreams. Joyful times. It feels like home. I own it. I've invested there, and they've mutually invested in me. It's a great relationship. 

But now, now I live 10 hours and 3 states away and don't have a place (church) to hang my hat. We thought we did, but as great a church it is, it was very much not a place to stay. It was like the shoes I wore to my son's wedding last week - pretty and the right size and matched well what I was wearing...but boy, were they uncomfortable! It just wasn't the right fit for us to grow and stay in.

It was the difference between becoming a member of the church or finding a family. We could serve there, but we didn't find relationships. At all. 

So, I'm in between churches, in between web sites (still debating what to do there) and in between books - reading one and trying to write the other - one takes time away from the other

STOP

WELL, I didn't mean for that to be so...pitiful?? Sad?? Oh well, it's what came to mind when I heard "in between" as the *word* for this week. And in actuality, when I THINK of Crossroads, living in KY and going to church across the river in IN, it makes me happy. REALLY. I'm grateful for life-long friendships that will travel with me, no matter where God calls us to live, work, serve. 

Sleep well...in between the sheets...  hehe...couldn't resist! :) 

Good Gifts...

I LOVE having my DD and grandson here with me. It's so nice to have their company, and seeing little Isaiah exhibit all his tricks. Each day he's saying new words, learning to do something new, being a little BRAVER. It's wonderful, delightful, fun.

Today we went shopping to get my DD a few new items of clothing. We are not gift givers here - we're not one to go shopping and pick something new out and give it for Christmas or a birthday. Too many times we get it wrong, it doesn't fit, or it's the wrong size. It's become too practical to give a gift card, mail a check, or even give cash for them to get whatever they want or need, in their perfect size and color. So to go shopping with her was a treat. 

Our original intent was to hit some of the thrift stores in the area, but then I saw a sale flier in my inbox from Kohl's - so I suggested we try there. My DH (working out of town today) suggested we check out Penney's too...but DD wanted to start at Kohl's...so off we went! We found deals galore! It was a real blessing, and she came in WAY below budget with a sack full of things. The shirts she got were very inexpensive, at least as low as what she'd pay for used shirts from the thrift stores. 

She graciously kept saying "thank you" - and we know that she's so thankful for the clothing, but it honestly brought both DH and I joy and pleasure to be able to purchase them for her "just because". 

It occurred to me that THAT'S just how God is in providing for our needs. Just as it says in Matthew 7:11 (and Luke 11:13)

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

God WANTS to give us good gifts! Just like most parents want to provide things for their kids (yes, even grown up kids who are fully capable of living on a budget and providing for their own needs); He also wants to provide for us. We just need to take the time to ask. 

Sometimes we don't get what we ask for right away, and in the end we see that what He provided down the road was different - but often times better. I know that doesn't make sense when you're in the midst of a trial, illness, or disappointment, but I promise He will reveal Himself in that season of trouble, and will provide for you....just lean in HARD on Him, and trust Him with every. little. thing. by praying, taking time to read His word, and just ENJOYING His presence in the middle of it all.

I know, I know... it sounds too easy, too good to be true, and TOO hard at the same time! How can we let go of the trouble that makes us feel alive? The heart ache that reminds us we've loved? The pain that we identify with so much - no matter how badly it hurts? 

Just try my friend. TRY. Breathe HIM in...each breath. Invite Him. And with each exhale, say "less of me", and mean it. 

Side note:
I just walked my dog around the back yard. Yeah, I know, I'm lazy - but truth be told she'll only p**p if she's walked on a leash, and at 9:45 pm it's still 82 degrees and about 85% humidity. I'm not walking her a mile around the neighborhood now and it was TOO hot earlier... but she still needed to do her business. So the back yard on a leash was it. 

I opened the back door, and walked in to the yard to 2 fragrances: BBQ and flowers. I LOVE the smell of BBQ, but truth be known, my lungs do not. So it sets me to hacking. But the fragrance of those flowers was amazing. It was soothing and peaceful and lovely. I never knew 4 o'clocks were fragrant! Silly me!

With each breath, exhaling that fragrant BBQ pent up in my lungs became more necessary. As I stood by the flowers and took in the fragrance of beauty it cancelled out that BBQ beast wanting to send me into a coughing fit. In time, all I smelled was the flowers and my lungs were calmed down. 

I think being in God's presence, taking Him in - NO - INVITING Him in - is like that. He calms the fury inside us. The ugly. When we are willing to give ourselves over to Him that way He DELIGHTS in us - and WITHIN us. He's there. We may not get the gifts we're wanting (healing, romance, finances, etc) but we're not alone in that. He will give us the good gifts, the BEST gifts - we just don't see it yet. 

Rest in Him. Breathe Him in. Believe He desires to give you the best of things, for eternity. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Did you know???....

I've agreed to join in on an Affiliate Program through Commission Junction! You'll notice from time to time sponsored ads in my side bar - if you click on them, and decide to purchase something, I'll get paid a small commission!! (So THANK YOU to those of you that DO!) 

I love how God gave me perfect words on describing my blog, and I hope to be in line with it as it grows and changes with time...

"The ramblings and experiences of a middle-aged, empty-nesting, "married for 29 years to the same man" woman. A place for friendships to form, women to be encouraged and prayed over, and God to be glorified. Books occasionally reviewed, other blogs referred, and blogging topics go from "everyday life" to "grand-parenting from afar" and "travel". As an avid social media user, I also will write about conferences pertaining to women, missions, and social media/blogging." 

I hope that you'll share my site with others; that you'll interact as He leads you to. I ALWAYS welcome prayer requests (yep! I'm a knee warrior!) and hope you'll pray for me too! 

Now get off line, and enjoy some of this lovely, summer day (before it gets TOO hot outside!) 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Super Moon...

The wedding is over, the guests packing to return home. We gaze out to the Super Moon raising on the horizon... so beautiful...


In time I'll be getting into my blog...getting back into all of my work schedule. My family is still visiting, and I'm savoring the moments with them. In a week, I'll be here alone and back into a normal routine... But tonight, I'm watching the moon, holding my grandson, laughing with my sisters.... giving praise to God!

Friday, June 14, 2013

FMF - Listen

It's been a few weeks, but I always read some of the Five Minute Friday posts, even if I don't take the time to write one myself...but tonight I was up, the computer was all warmed up, and my fingers limber. I'm ready for bed - but thought - hey, why not just do it now - so here I am. You can learn all about the rules and history of FMF here. 

START:


If I sit quietly in the dining room, I can sometimes hear the tinkle...tinkle...tinkle of the fountain on the other side of the windows. Usually, I just sit out on the bench and watch the fountain flow, spilling from one level to the next, then starting over at the top again.

DH wanted to landscape in one of those rock fountains, the ones that look like a little waterfall...and well, while there's room for that (and a whole koi pond, for that matter) it wasn't the look or the feel that I felt the house needed. It needed a fo untain up front, something stately and sort of European-ish, or as I prefer "Mediterranean", to go with the style of the house. 

But I regress...

So it really didn't matter what it looked like, it needed to SOUND great. It's hard to HEAR ONE fountain when there's 10 plugged in at the big box store...or any other store for that matter! But this one is great. I LOVE the sound of it. It's soothing, and the thought of that water spilling down is enough to soothe these ruffled feathers. Therapy for sure. 

Just the other night, grandsons in tow, we sat on the bench (one boy in the stroller, the smaller one in my arms) and listened to the fountain. My daughter told me that the boy wasn't sleeping well lately; that he needed to relax and fall asleep before you could lay him in bed. I knew right away what would work...so we sat on the front landing and listened to the water, and my special "goodnight mix" on the iPad - the lullabies from Andrew Peterson's "Bugs, Slugs and Lullabies" and then the "Start Smart" night time cd. Between the soothing songs, singing along, and the constant background of the fountain, we were all ready for bed in no time. It was delightful. 

END


My fountain at night; I love how the lights play on the dining room ceiling!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Keeping Up

Boy, life's been busy. Tonight I just had to wind down and relax a bit. I didn't think of it as "Sabbath time" but it sure felt like it.

When I'm home alone, after having a houseful, it leaves me sad  -  and EXHAUSTED. I love my daughter and SIL, love my 5 grandkids a bunch, LOVE to get to see them in person, and not online; but for some reason, this time, I loved waving good-bye to them too.

(Abbey the Wonderdog doesn't quite agree with me. She's moping around, whining, looking for the kids...she doesn't understand how they came and went so quickly!)

Once the house was quiet, I threw a load of towels in the wash, stripped a bed (next load) and laid down in my own bed. I slept for 2 hours, which was nuts. Sometime in there I watered outside, but it was a "lay the hose down in the garden" type soak, not a sprinkle all over kind watering. It was stinking hot out...and stayed over 90 all day. That makes me tired too.

I wanted to read, to use that as my relaxation time, but I couldn't keep my eyes open. Too tired. I literally fell in bed, and slept solid. I needed that, not only physically, but emotionally too. It's hard on me to say good-bye...but I managed to do it today without shedding a tear. Perhaps it's because I hope to see them in 10 days when my son gets married? It keeps me praying for safety as they are driving around and visiting with others while they are in this part of the country.

Well, my head's bobbing, and I'm tired again.

OH, Mark (my DH) read "Invisible"! I had read it back in March, and wrote a review on it (you can read my review here.). He's the kind of guy who enjoys going to chick-flics with me - so that's why he read the book. It was a good distraction from stress of the day, and relaxed him. Almost immediately he connected with the characters, and he enjoyed the story line. He was glad that they didn't leave him hanging at the end. It WAS a great book - fun - relaxing to read.

Next we are both reading "Tipping Our Kings" - his and hers reviews upcoming!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Five Minute Friday: FALL

Day lights decreasing and there's a certain smell in the air. I can walk out the door in the mornings light, and it transports me back 40 years to a first day of school...and EVERY first day of s hool since then...even putting my kids off to school...even when we homeschooled.

Funny thing is, it's not the school year that makes it this way, it's that season...FALL that is setting the circadian rhythm of my birth, and my season of sleep, reflection, and BAKING is kicking in.

Oh, I love the spring blooms, and the intense colors of summer blue skies and bright flowers, but FALL holds my heart. It's the time I was born, the time I lost my momma, and the time my true love bloomed - despite the falling leaves. I love the colors I didn't see in my Southern California upbringing...the deep reds, yellows, and every color in between that God changes ever so slightly as the temperatures drop. I love the briskness in the air, and the smell of a bonfire, or the first fire in the fireplace, even if my lungs do not love those things. I love bundling up, and remembering the FALLS of past; full of running to soccer games, football games, and fall festivals.


I remember my mom, and wonder what she thought of this season...if she chose it, or if it chose her?

A certain sadness comes along with FALL, and I never regret it...in some ways it's only fitting that winter follows...to grieve the passing of such a lovely season.

Oh, summer may have it's activities on the lawn, and spring may be playful and promising warmth to come. Winter may bring deep rest and a renewal of the earth...but give me fall to feast on, to cuddle with, to drink in colors and hold close in my melancholy heart...




Thursday, June 6, 2013

Paper or...Electronic??

I was thinking the other day of the time I did childcare in our home - 2 little sisters of dear friends...as close as family that friends could get. 

Each day, one of the little girls would see me sitting in "my chair" and reading my Bible. Some days she'd toddle up to me and climb in my lap as I'd read that day's Proverb, or whatever else was on my reading schedule for the day (or as God led me to read). It was clear, even from a distance, what I was doing.



But now I've gotten into the habit of reading my devotions, Bible studies and even Bible off of whatever electronic device is handy...usually my phone, sometimes an e-reader or my laptop. No one can tell if I'm deep in spiritual thought or playing Words With Friends! It didn't really impact me until my grandkids were around me, and I wondered what did THEY think I was doing.

SO, I've made a point to go back to my paper Bible as much as possible. I want to leave a legacy of Bible Readers, and I want that visual to be told over and over again; remembering Grandma Marina sitting in "her chair" and reading her Bible...not always on her computer (because I spend a lot of time on that anyways), but reading God's Words. 

Of course, more than the memory of me reading my Bible, I want them to see actions and words that are evident of the Fruits of the Spirit in my life; Fruits that are nurtured when I spend time in God's Word, and in prayerful conversation with Him. There's no other way to get that. No way of faking God's Fruit!



So I challenge you, put down the (enter your favorite electronic device here) and find that paper Bible, dust it off, and put it next to your favorite chair. Whether morning or evening, if there's a child in the house, I think you'll find they enjoy climbing on your lap and reading along with you... and if there's not a child in your house, then enjoy a special time alone with God, to enjoy His peace in solitude.




Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On Getting OLD--er than Middle Age

I've always been fascinated (and admittedly saddened) when I see people get old. When their minds go before their bodies, that's hard...but I think it's harder on loved ones when the mind is sharp and the body declines quickly.

Some people ARE old, but their minds stay sharp and their bodies active. Is there a connection? I think so...so we continue to push our failing joints around the neighborhood...under the illusion of daily walking the dog...(who praise God doesn't know how to spell or read yet, because she sure knows that word!); and utilize the facade of improving our mind as we learn new games, play on the Wii and remain avid backgammon players...all for the sake of "remaining young".

I've seen a few Type A personalities get old...I don't think that's what I am, but I stay busy enough that sometimes I worry that I am. Type A's get pushy and manipulative in old age. Whether it's your time or the conversation, they are LARGE and in charge. My theory is that they are so used to running something (a company, a club, or their family) that when they lose that job, that spouse, or their health, they choose to control what they can...the "people pleasers" of the world (now, THAT would be me!).

I'm glad that I've observed this more than one time...it allows me to set firmer boundaries and extend a little grace when they monopolize conversations. Hehe

I pray that I'm a sweet old lady...rephrased, that I'll BECOME a sweet old lady. I have known a few of them too; full cookie jars on the counter and a few cats in the house.  Maybe a dog. Always happy to see you, whether you arrived in the middle of her nap, or the Wheel of Fortune. Never says anything gossipy, or mean, about the other blue haired ladies. Always wears a smile (even while she shifts her teeth around!) and gladly shuffles around the tiny kitchen to put water on for tea...and another cookie? (Yes please!)

Maybe I'll be an avid gutter sweeper, like my mother's mother was. Perhaps I'll grow a great herb garden (raised bed) or prize roses? Maybe I'll crochet by the window, counting stitches with my eyes closed, until I fall asleep, dog at my feet.

I just want to be a sweet servant! I want my home to have the aroma of Christ, the Holy Spirit to dwell there. That my attitude would reflect the presence of God in my life...and in my home...and I want the neighborhood kids to want to come by to see me! To empty those cookie jars! :)

Lord, let it be so!

My Aunt Cor and her brother - my dad. Mid 1980's

Mark's Nana and Grandad, when our kids were tiny.

Me with dear Mom/Friend/Mentor Charlotte (aka the Quilt Lady, or the Goat Lady!).