Monday, October 31, 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

Down for the Count

Hi, friends.
Just checking in to let you know I am out of commission for a while.
Nasty cold has me completely exhausted. So I'm going to sleep as much as I can - while still doing life - and I'll be back here as soon as I feel up to it.

Grace and peace and good rest to you!


Friday, October 21, 2016

As the Election Draws Near

The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength.
The world is firmly established;
it cannot be moved.
Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

The seas have lifted up, O LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea -
the LORD on high is mighty.

Your statutes stand firm;
holiness adorns your house for endless days, O LORD.

~Psalm 93
Oh, how perfect is God's timing - that HE would see me "randomly" read this psalm.
As the election draws near.

If I may be honest with you: even though I know God is on His throne; even though I pray and will continue to do so; in spite of the fact that I have read several entreaties which aim to convince the audience that the results of the upcoming election in the United States are in His hands and He will remain on His throne - nevertheless, I still find myself fearful at times.
Still wonder sometimes how bleak our future might be.
And God knows my thoughts.
I know HE knows.
Because HE brought this psalm into my view. And He's going to work the Truth into my heart.

I mean, just look at those words! They convey confidence and certainty and courage. Within these words there is no room for "if so-and-so gets elected", or "provided a certain type of judge is appointed", or even "assuming particular rulings and laws are upheld".
The LORD reigns.

And I have decided - so God may work this Truth into my heart as the election draws near - to memorize this psalm. I am going to learn and meditate on one verse each week, for the next five weeks. I am going to cast my anxiety on GOD and invite Him to tell me all about His rule, might, and eternal reign.
Now, if you'll excuse me - I'm going to go get a picture in my head of God robed in majesty and armed with strength, and I am going to praise Him for His power and faithfulness.

I welcome anyone to join me on this five-week journey.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Call Me "Cabby"

Wednesday morning, 7:23.
Matthew: Uh, Mom, I missed the bus. Can you drive me to school?
Some unclear under-his-breath rumblings about the new bus driver coming too early.
*Grab the keys and head out the door. Breakfast can wait a few minutes.*

Wednesday morning, 11:40.
Josh: Uh, Mom, are you doing anything right now? Can you go with me to the mechanic's so I can drop off my Jeep, and you can bring me home?
*Check the time. Yep, if we hurry I can do this and make it to my 12:30 appointment.*

Wednesday afternoon, 3:53.
Matthew: Uh, Mom, can you take me to work?
*Sure. And next week I can drive you to your driving test so you can get your license!*

Wednesday afternoon, 4:15.
Josh: Uh, Mom, can you help me move Matthew's desk out into the van?
Lots of explanation about how he wants to set up a scene to make a video for his Youtube channel.
*Why not? It isn't like the desk is heavy and I'll throw my back out, or anything.*

Wednesday evening, 5:10.
Josh: (on the phone with Brian) Yeah. Are you going to be home soon?...Oh.
Josh: (to me) Dad is going to be late. Can you take me to make the video?
Because he can't unload the desk on location by himself.
*OK. When the soup I'm preparing for dinner is ready to "simmer for 20 minutes," well, I'll give you 20 minutes to get this thing done.*

And so it goes. Takin' my boys where they need to go, so they can do what they need to do.
Sometimes that means putting aside what I need or want to do.
Other times it means I get to feel needed.
And every time, it increases my feeling of job security.

How do the every-day needs of your kiddos influence your days?
And what do you do to keep a positive outlook?


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Just Pray

My son is thinking about what he wants to do with his life.
I mean, he knows what he wants to do with his life. He wants to go fishing!
But he's trying to be practical and come up with plans for how he can earn a living, and start adulting, and all that fun stuff. And he was sharing his thoughts about it with me yesterday.
When he paused to inhale, I said, "Well, the best thing I can think of is to pray about it. God knows what you should do. He'll guide you."

My daughter had an opportunity to go to Mexico to see her friends and participate in a conference which is being put on by the church she attended while she studied there earlier this year. She asked me if it would be irresponsible of her to spend her money on a plane ticket to go there for a weekend to attend the retreat.
I was about to give her my opinion but thought better of it and said, "Well, seems to me the best thing to do would be to ask God. He'll lead you to the right decision."

And - just before writing this post - I read an entry from someone in a Facebook group of which I am a part. This woman is new to the blogging and writing world and sought advice for what to do when the words don't come. I told her I also have struggled with "silence" at times - feeling the need to write, but not having anything to say. And I shared my decision to not write, unless God has put something on my heart. (That's why sometimes I don't post anything. Well, some days I might not post because life is just too crazy-busy. But usually if I don't write anything here it's because God hasn't put anything on my heart to share. And I don't want to write just to fill space. May everything I say and do be for the purpose of building up the church and glorifying God!)
Then I told her: Whenever someone asks me for advice - about anything - my answer will always be,
"Pray. Just pray! God will show you what to do."

I mean, I don't want to sound like a broken record.
But God has shown me over and over again that HE is the one I need to seek. HIS wisdom is the guidance which will sustain me. And HE has never let me down.
God works through prayer, and I'm sticking with it.
That's my final answer.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

(More Than) Dance Lessons

Almost six weeks ago, Brian and I started taking dance lessons.

At his suggestion.

I know! Amazing, isn't it?
(There is a reason I call him "Mr. Wonderful".)
OK, full disclosure - his friend invited us to the class. It wasn't all Brian's doing.
But he could have said no to his friend without ever telling me about it. And he didn't.
Mr. Wonderful.

It has been fun learning how to dance with Brian. And I am looking forward to the next time we get to go to a wedding reception - and really dance.
(I mean, we have A LOT of practicing to do. But we'll get there.)

The interesting thing to me, though, is that learning to dance is only secondary to what this class is really teaching me. That is, this is the first time I have danced when I am not supposed to memorize a routine and perform it to the best of MY ability.
This time, I am simply to learn various steps - and follow Brian's lead.
When our lessons first began, the whole idea of following his lead sounded wonderful to me. Our instructor described the man's role as thinking ahead, planning the next steps, and guiding his partner through them. All I needed to do was follow his lead.
No planning.
No charting a course.
No copious amounts of thinking.

Just look pretty, follow along, and enjoy the ride.

Now - to this mother/household engineer - letting somebody else do all the thinking and planning sounded pretty close to heaven. I was all for it!
But five weeks of dance lessons and an increasing amount of practicing at home has shown me something about myself I had not previously realized: I am not very good at following.
Rather, I am prone to anticipating moves ahead of time and *gasp* trying to plan what's coming next.
(My poor husband. Dancing is not his forte, and I am not making it any easier on him...)
It's good, though.
We're talking about how we need to communicate the dance steps - how I can "listen" and he can "speak". We're spending more time in each other's arms. (While dancing to Barry Manilow tunes, no less!)
And we're having fun.

Looking for a good way to invest in your marriage?
I recommend dance lessons. *smile*

P.S. For those of you in the Lansing area, check out the Center for Social Dance.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Learning As I Go

OK. So, I have always preferred that our family eat dinner together. Of course, there were times when the kids would complain about not being allowed to go do this or that during the dinner hour.
But as they have gotten older even my children have admitted they valued time with the whole family around the dinner table.

Which is why it was difficult for me to come to a realization last night.

Josh asked for permission to miss dinner.
He wanted to spend time with a friend, and had a list of fairly decent reasons for said visit.
Of course, my first impulse was to say, No. To hold fast to my standard that you don't miss dinner with the family unless it can't be helped. But I paused for a moment before I said anything, and in that moment something (or SomeOne) in me clicked.
I thought about Elizabeth. It's been quite a while since she's been home to eat with us. I imagine she has plenty of evenings when she hangs out with friends instead of having a sit-down dinner.
For that matter, I think back to when I was 18 and attending college. It was not uncommon for me to keep odd hours. Most nights I dined with friends. Family time was limited to occasional visits home.
With these considerations in my head, I looked at my 18-year-old, community-college-enrolled, living-at-home son and I became conscious of fact that - if he were a traditional college student he wouldn't be home for dinner Wednesday evening, anyway.
Neither would he have been home Tuesday.
Nor would he be Thursday.
And it occurred to me that, perhaps, this moment was an opportunity for me practice letting go. That is, I realized I might have been playing the role of helicopter-mom and holding my son back from his natural tendency to take flight.
Part of me says I'm seeing too much into that moment (The helicopter part of me!) but another part realizes I need to take these steps.

Ahhhh, but I've never had an 18-year-old son before. This is all new territory for me. I am learning as I go. So I will ask God every day to show me what to do.
And I'll trust Him to lead me.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

When I Fall Short

Well, something isn't working correctly for me. Go figure!
I just took a picture of some beautiful scripture tags which were for this past weekend's retreat so I could show them to you. But now - for some reason they aren't showing up when I try to upload them to the blog. Sooooo, you'll need to use your imagination. *smile*
I realize you may be wondering how I could take a picture of scripture tags which were for the retreat after the retreat is already behind us.
And I understand your confusion. I do!
Believe me, it isn't because I am "so amazing."
On the contrary, it is part of a greater picture which shows how imperfect I am.
And how amazing GOD IS.

This is how it went down:
Two of my good friends helped make this retreat happen. During the retreat, itself, they prayed and did all the meal preparation and clean-up. But before the retreat, we got together to work on other preparations. Namely, some beautiful scripture tags which were to be placed at each setting for our meals. The verses were to serve as another way for God to speak to the women who came to listen.
So I chose the scriptures, paper, and ribbon with care - and my friends and I hand-crafted each one.
They were lovely!
Fast-forward to last Friday afternoon when the three of us were setting up the dining room and Joanna asked about the scripture tags. I ran upstairs to retrieve them from my room and I opened my supply bag looked through another bag rechecked the first bag prayed that I'd find them in another one realized I forgot to pack them.

My heart sank.

But just as quickly as my countenance fell, God lifted me up.
He reminded me that - while the scripture tags would have been a nice touch - HE didn't need them in order to speak to the women who were coming to the retreat.
So I sheepishly went back to the dining room to confess my oversight, and mustered up all my faith to convey confidence that the retreat would still be worth-while.
Little did I know, the forgotten scripture tags would be just one of several imperfections throughout the weekend. There was that construction which slowed me down on the way to the retreat center. Activities didn't always coincide with the original schedule I had created. I seemed to be in a habit of misplacing items. One of my guests hit a deer on the way in. And my, uh, feminine thing made an unscheduled, early appearance.
And yet, God met women in their quiet moments of reflection. He spoke to them of His love. He told one woman that He just wanted to look at her - the way she looks at her children and marvels at her love for them. He did exactly as He wanted to do, in spite of my neglect of that nice touch.

In the end, I guess God did use the scripture tags after all. HE used them to remind me that my forgetfulness does not nullify HIS faithfulness. HE used them to confirm to me that my imperfections do not hinder HIS perfection. And HE is still using the memory of my oversight to assure me that HE does not overlook any.thing.

God is good. All he time!


Monday, October 10, 2016

Friday, October 07, 2016

It's Time

So, I've been a little preoccupied the past couple of days - getting ready for the listening retreat which starts tonight.
And, honestly, I don't have the time to craft a clever post right now.

But there's always time to pray.

And that's what I'm asking of you right now. Will you please join me in praying for the women who are attending the retreat this weekend?
I am confidently anticipating that God is going to do wonderful things in the heart of each one who is there. And I am equally aware that our enemy doesn't want God's plan to be fulfilled. Thus I am begging for prayer coverage for the entire event.
Because, there is power in the Name of JESUS!


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Prayin' With a Few Friends

Sooooooo, what did YOU do yesterday?

I spent time at the State Capitol praying with approximately 8,100 of my newest friends.

It was a gorgeous day - made better by the presence of the Holy Spirit and the opportunity to unite with one another in prayer for our land.
And friends, we need to be praying for our land.
For our world!
Not only that, we need to be informed and vote. We need to be engaged in our world. We need to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ in a land that is broken and hurting and falling apart.
Yesterday at the prayer rally, Franklin Graham asked us to make a pledge to God and our country.
I'm in. Are you?


Monday, October 03, 2016

I Believe

Have a wonderful, Jesus-full day!