Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day is upon us!
Monday is set aside to honor those who labor. Its a day to rest, relax, and spend with family and friends. Its a gift of time. It marks the end of summer for us in North America. And it marks the time of the new school year, fall activities, and leads to the end of year holidays. Its a time to consider the use of the time we have ahead before the next year is rung in.
Is there time in your calendar for a tea party for one, two, or more? Is there time for a meal hosted at home with family and friends? Is there time to do what you truly feel God has called you to do? Are there hours in your days, moments in those hours, in which you might want to schedule making calls, writing cards, placing emails to connect with others and plan times to actually be together? Before you fill your days with to-do's fill in to-be's. What are you called to be? 
Is there time in your day to be quiet, to open God's Word, to read thoughtfully, listening intently, noting what God reveals to you? Is there time to ponder upon what you read? Is there time to put feet to what you learn? Is there time to journal, to record your thoughts, your prayers, your cares? Is there time to serve others that God nudges you to serve? Is there time for more than yourself and your family and your job? Not loads of time, but any time to respond rather than react? To care for those who are todays "widows, orphans, and strangers" that God asked the nation of Israel to care for - their care mattered to Him then and it matters to Him now. When I'm too busy to care, I'm too busy. I have resembled that last remark more often than I care to admit just now.
I agree, it is a constant challenge in our time on earth to live lives that count for eternity. There is time that is measurable such as our calendars, day-timers, daily work schedules, etc. How can we adjust those details to allow space in our lives for a cup of tea with a spouse, friend, child, or neighbor? Is there time in those slots to really hear someone else's heart? Is there time to respond to a need when you feel the nudge to reach out to another? To remember that someone in  your prayers each day? 
There is time to plan for those openings, they may not be actually scheduled in with a certain name, date, etc. ahead of time; but if we leave space in our lives, emotional and physical space, we will be more present in life. We will feel more fulfilled, we will be more in tune with God's leading. This will give us the experience of timely acts and responses. We will have time that touches another, that receives as well.  We will use our time wisely, and find in that, we may sense His leading us. both to do and at times to not step in to help. 
We will also sense when our limits are being reached and learn to graciously to allow others to fill in the time needed by another.
Dear reader, I know this is not new to you, it is perhaps a 'known' fact for most of you. But for today's post I felt it time to re-member these things. There is time for what is needed, there is time to care, there is time to share, and there is time to rest. 
There is time for God, there is time for His Word. 
There is time to stop, boil water, steep tea, prepare the cup, to sit and savor life. Too often we live life gulp by gulp, purposing to get as much done as possible, to be productive, to make our goals, to set higher goals, to delegate, defer, or take on and take over. You alone know what you tend to do.
Yet its time, to look at our use of time, be purposeful in our use of it. We will get no extra time, no matter how fast we run through a day. How do I know about this? I've 'researched' it thoroughly.


And been humbled, jumbled, perplexed, fatigued, drained by some of my 'plans' and yet, I'm beginning to know that its always best to stay humble, to be flexible, to allow space in my life, to do what I can in the time that I have and not worry about the time "I don't have", to focus on the task before me (especially since most of my tasks are caring for people!) and to let God be God. To demonstrate by my daily plans that God is for me, in me, and works through me as well as others.
Let us learn from His Word, we are made in His image but we are not Him. There is a distinct difference. *smile* Let us trust Him to guide us in the use of our time: the time we plan and the time that is timely. 
Truth for Life
What do people really get for all their hard work? 
I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 
Yet God has made everything beautiful in its own time. 
He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, 
people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:9-11

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fun video clip.

I'm a Mac computer fan, have been since the late 1980's when we got our first Mac. Love my iPhone and MacBook, have an older Mac desktop (thanks to my son-in-love), we have 3 iPhones in my immediate family in Tulsa. 

Here is an ad that features Mac's and tea - a little different twist. Its tea I don't need and wouldn't want to sip, but it is a cute mention of teas.
See the one titled: Calming Teas

Truth for Life
Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31

"Deer in the headlights!"

Left the house at 6 this morning to head to Oklahoma City. I had a seminar to attend for the day. I was going to meet a friend. I was ready, listening to a CD on John 15. And. . . . oh, no! I saw him, he saw me, he was young, uncertain. . . . stopped, started, stopped, and started again - right into my lane. Yes, a deer! Perhaps the headlights confused him, I slowed, I tried to anticipate his choice of direction to avoid him, but that was not possible. He ran right towards my car. I nearly missed him, nearly.


It was awful. 

I am grateful I did not lose control of the car, I did not hit anyone, no one else hit me or the deer. It died - I felt great grief. I continued to slow down and drove to the side of the road as soon as it was safe traffic-wise.  My car was functioning well. . . but when I got out to look at the evidence - well, it was NOT a pretty picture. I had lights hanging from cords, dangling from the 'sockets' they had been firmly affixed to for years. . .  and the front hood was bent up, the grill broken, sighhhhh. I have an 11 year old vehicle with 140, 000 miles but it is paid for, drives well, gets great mileage, and well, its not time for us to replace it. 
Tonight it resides in a body shop, it awaits an estimate from our insurance company. The body shop feels they can fix it. They said it was worth repairing and in their opinion 'is not totaled'. I pray not.
My dear husband came to me and gave me his car so I could continue on. I had a headache but otherwise was unharmed. I had adrenaline flowing but was able to get into his much larger vehicle and complete the trip. I had the whole incident in the back of my mind as I listened to 6 hours of teaching on medications and their impact on my work in physical rehab. My friend was not able to attend as she had a major car breakdown in southern Oklahoma and had to spend the day limping to a city far from her breakdown, paying huge towing costs, in order to get up and running. We kept in touch and by tonight she was headed to her Saturday seminar destination. 
So, until Monday, I do not know the direction I will be taking. I will either be picking up a rental on the insurance company or receiving a small check and looking for another good used reliable means of transportation car, in tidy shape inside and out. Its in God's hands - as the whole day was. From sun up to sundown, and all through the night. He is in charge, overseeing, protecting, providing, and guiding.
Tonight, I am home, safe, sound, just car-less for the time being. It could be an entirely different scenario - and for that I am most grateful.  On my way home I looked, fearful to see it, but did not see the deer carcass on the road. I knew I'd cry if I saw it. I teared up as I looked for it. But it had already been removed from the highway. "Life goes on." I am alive, I have no pain, I am humbled. 
I'll never hear the quote: "like a deer caught in the headlights" without remembering this morning. It was surreal.  I wish you a very safe weekend, time to reflect upon God's presence, His wisdom, and His truth. Tonight, I thank the Lord for His protection and safe keeping.

Truth For Life
I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sabbath Setting? 
Why is that oven in this blog?
This is our new oven, after a fire in our former oven, we replaced it with one like the above. I baked some cookies, casserole, etc. this week, entertained some friends, and then the next day my oven would not work. I just got this oven in May of this year. I was shocked, confused, etc. The panel had a message on it that I figured was a clue to what was wrong with it, and right I was.  I had to go to work so I left it as it. I was 'seeing' a repairman having to be called on this new oven - sigh.
Tonight I got out my booklet and read the details. . .  what I thought was "5ad" was actually "Sab" - and in the booklet it informed me that I'd left my oven on for over 12 hours and that sets off a Sabbath Setting in the oven - it freezes the controls, disallows it to be started until the Sabbath Setting is turned off. The oven has it's limits.
It took holding the 'clock' button for 5 seconds and voila! The Sab code flashed 5 times and I had my usual panel back in working order.
I'm reading through the Bible, a habit I have practised for many years and am in the midst of Ezekiel. This mornings reading repeatedly mentioned the importance of (but failure of Israel) to keep the Sabbath. To rest, to be separate, to trust God, to know your limits, to know His boundlessness. To cease striving and know He is God, not we. And my oven was giving me my own personal illustration. Someone has written into the computer code of this simple oven a limit to its use at one time.
Dear reader, do you know your limits in a day? Do you race through the days and evenings from the moment you put your foot out of bed until you turn the lights out in order to sleep? I am learning to do this less, to say 'no' more often in order to have time in my days for the unexpected needs that God may have me tend to, pray for, assist with, etc. Its a learning curve that takes more daily effort than I expected. 
I am not superwoman, not super-anything. I am human, made in God's image, thus not God. He is God, wants to be my God, to be my strength, to be my place of rest. It is my choice to turn away from His woo-ing, to go my own way or to consider His ways, and follow Him into a Sabbath Rest.
Have you come to the end of your day and find yourself emptied of all you have to give in time, energy, heart, and focus? Come away, sit, breathe, focus on God, open His Word, let it speak into your life fresh air, restoring your soul. Join me, won't you?
Truth for Life
Come to me, 
all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You MUST visit our daughter's blog. . .  
why? Our grand daughter is now crawling! Its her first success at making it across the blanket she normally plays upon - time for baby proofing their home! As, obvious, first time grandparents, we relish every moment of Avery's development, no matter the consequences. *grin*
Watch her first successes caught by her ready-with-the-camera father:
That is all for today.
Truth For Life
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, 
and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Proverbs 17:27, 28

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Light Summer fun read 
for females that love tea, travel, and London!
This is the 7th book in the Sisterchicks series and it was a pleasure to read. I read it in two evenings and was sad when it was done but glad I had read it. I've read them all and share the theory of enjoying life, growing up as we grow older, sharing some fun with a female friend, laughing through new territory, etc. all benefitting the women and their families. I recommend this if you need something easy on the mind, stirring to the spirit, and encouraging to your heart. Check for a copy. (or your local public library, which is where I got my copy) Released May 2008.
Tonight I met a special friend who helped me re-enter the field of physical therapy 4 years ago. We met at a continuing education seminar for dinner and an evening of review of the latest lower extremity bracing for adults and kids, electronic stimulation supports for drop foot, head helmut bracing for babies to re-shape heads mis-shaped by positions they are kept in for long periods of time due to the Back To Sleep program, etc. We were fed a fabulous meal as it was at a Renaissance hotel and we were treated like professionals. Wow! As a former full-time stay-at-home mom, I still get surprised at the treatment I occasionally receive. It is not something I got from the workaday world or even my church as I spent decades raising our children. How upside down is our world? (totally!)
We've made plans to meet in a few weeks at another seminar, that one will be on pharmacology for physical therapist, sounds thrilling, no? But to me it is music to my ears as I have needed just such information on my level for the playing field I'm on during the week. We will be on our own for lunch at that seminar but I think we can manage to find some where to enjoy the hour we'll have in Oklahoma City. Its both of our former stomping grounds. . . . . so very long ago. I'm wishing I could figure out a way to work in an afternoon tea at Inspirations tea room in Edmond, OK while away for this seminar but I won't have the free time when tea is normally served to take that little diversion. *sigh*
On the knitting front, well, I've got a dishcloth on the needles but haven't touched it in over 2 weeks. Yes, 2 weeks! I have plans for another baby blanket, to have ready for the time another grandbaby is born amongst my circle of friends. I love knitting up pretty stitch patterns in simple white for just such occasions. Edging them in a color after the baby is born makes them ready to go and well received by the new mother and child. I'm in the mood to knit up a few baby hats. . . perhaps a pumpkin one would be nice to make for my grandbaby to wear when she moves to south Africa. It might be cheerful for the family as they settle into life in a far different country than Dallas, Texas. 
I've had two blessed days at home this week - gave me time to catch up on ironing, cleaning, sorting, tidying, grocery shopping, and gardening. I was able to take longer walks in the wee hours of the morning before our triple digit temperatures were reached each day. I love days like these - but after a few I find myself getting antsy to get back to work and earn money for the remaining work on our home and furniture we will eventually purchase. That is a motivation of its own. For now, working 3 to 4 days outside-the-home weekly fills a void of needing purposeful days in my week. But now and then I'm so happy to get a 2 to 3 day work-outside-the-home week and more days to work on our home. Its a nice ebb and flow.
Truth For Life
Jesus said "You are my friends, if you do what I command."
John 15:14

Monday, August 04, 2008

A day of reflection

Simple joy is found in two peaches that developed upon a 'stick' in the garden bed of a leased duplex. Picked and placed next to a little green tea pot and cups. These were in my daughter's kitchen a week ago. It pictured simplicity for me. 
Simplicity has become my heart's desire. I want a life that is open to offering hospitality of the heart, to my husband, my neighbors, my friends as well as co-workers. Hospitality is 'spelled'  in a simpler form for me now; I don't seem to need and certainly do not desire all the accoutrements of 10 years ago. 
When my computer starts up I have it set to play Give Me Jesus sung by Fernando Ortega. It gives me focus and a good reminder. Four years ago I had a time of decision, a time in which I felt I needed to cease being a full time stay at home mom, it was time to provide income to help in our family's need of the moment. It felt like a major crisis.
I studied my spiritual gifts and natural leanings and discovered three specific directions. I numbered them according to my hearts passion and proceeded to write up resumes and make contacts. I began seeking employment with my 1st choice, then the second, and at last the third. The third one was my least favorite, a feared place of work, one I'd done many years previously and left with much dissatisfaction and burnout.  It was a time of huge fears, anxiety, and stress. Guess what the Lord led me to settle upon after all the trials, appeals, and efforts? Perhaps you have experienced such a time and are ahead of me as you read this. In my situation my last choice, was His first. His choice became my choice as time moved along.
His choice took me out of a bubble of sorts and exposed me to the elements of the working world I'd not be in for nearly 3 decades. In the field of work I have found a 'fit' I never expected. I am the most surprised of all. I have found opportunities to share Christ in both word and deed. I've been unsuspectingly an example to co-workers for I'm seen day by day, being a witness, a representative of my world view. I've been myself: working to earn money yes, but seeing in the people I serve real lives, lives in varying seasons of life, many in pain, some in much confusion as to family needs and personalities. I've also found a little joy in being part of teams who serve these people. Helping my co-workers, being helped by them. 
It has brought me to deeper joys, higher challenges, greater faith development, and more constant dependence upon the Lord; along with this I have received precious blessings, a bigger 'bit of earth' in which to toil, and I have been able to connect the dots of my life, my experiences, and my faith walk and apply it where it needed to be applied beyond my yard, my church, my children's schools, and my circle of friends. Today I had opportunity to look again at that transition - to review what I am doing, why I'm doing it, and to re-evaluate what God is asking me to join Him in at this time. Why? Well, I got news that someone else is stepping into a role I longed to initiate and fill back when this life transition began. Yes, my #1 passion and desire, the task I longed to work in, is now a position, and someone else will step into it. I was facing again the death of a vision.
It hurt for a few moments, and I cried out to the Lord for understanding of my emotions, to review what was true about Him, to remember what I am called to for now. To rejoice in this other person's new assignment and His creation of this role for the ministry as well as to fill a void in their life as they enter a new season. It is a day to reaffirm what I am involved with as fall plans begin to be made both for the employment of most of my weekdays as well as the day I devote to a Bible study class I lead and the women I study with and befriend. 
I'm so grateful that He has called me to the places in which I work/serve/and minister alongside Him. I am so blessed. I'm not a person who longs for the admiration of others, I prefer to make an impact in others lives on a deeper level than just friendship, and that means, fewer lives can be impacted. It is continuing the discipling such as I did with my children, offering cups of cold water to meet true tangible needs along with sharing God's truth. I also receive wisdom from those women who are my own mentors, those who have wisdom to offer me from their faith walk. It is a rich life that isn't just focused on here and now, nor me and myself. 
Now back to the simplicity focus of today's post. My heart and my home are in process. We have waited months, even years, to repair our home's foundation, to refloor, repaint, and start over again. We have given, sold, and tossed out bags of excess possessions and in this process our home feels more serene, restful, and open. We are enjoying the changes and it will soon offer us greater ease to share our home with others. We will be purchasing furniture for our main living area next;  I've been listening with focus to the Word of God as I read devotionally each morning, studying a portion of the Bible each semester, and now reading spiritual home decorating books. How much to add, what to add so we won't go down that American-style accumilation path again. 
I am beginning to see what a good thing it has been to not be able to replace worn out items all at once. I know it is a blessing to not put it on a charge card or obtain a home equity loan (been there, done that, got the t-shirt along with the burden and years of  limitations of such choices). As we save, shop, pray, plan, and wait for the items we need we are allowing God into these decisions that will impact our home's atmosphere with not only a decor style that is welcoming but hearts that are welcoming, unburdened by our setting's expense, maintenance, etc. This is so counter-cultural it is nice to have to take it bit by bit.
Perhaps you have walked this path yourself, if you have tips, verses of encouragement, or thoughts to share, post them here. I'd love to hear your heart and learn from your experiences.
Truth For Life
"And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, 
to walk in all His ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, . . . "
Deuteronomy 10:12