Monday, February 23, 2015

What Does Trust Look Like?

Instagram post by Women of Faith

God's plans trump mine. Beth Moore

I was standing in the kitchen by the warmth of the pellet stove when I noticed it was snowing, hard. My plan was to make a quick trip to town to the grocery store before I got worse. A scratchy throat and stuffy head was my waking companion today and I know by the feel of it, I may be at the beginning of a nasty cold. I pray not.

After checking my weather app and noting a snow squall alert with high wind gusts, I cancelled my plans. Then I placed the dreaded call to my mom informing her that I wouldn't be taking her to Portland this week to see my brother. I couldn't take a chance on either of them getting sick. The debilitating flu-like colds people are getting last for weeks. 

The verse from IF:EQUIP's study on Hebrews that I'd been memorizing came to mind.

"Now in putting everything in subjection to Him, God left nothing outside His control. At present we do not see everything in subjection to him, but we see Him." Hebrews 2:8 ESV

If I truly believe that there is nothing outside His control where my life is concerned, I can rest.

I know there are battles and free will and prayer that changes things, but this is a trust issue. It always comes down to trust with me. Not trying and striving or worrying and reasoning and planning.




"My faith often feels so different than the way others' looks."

I read that quote over on Flower Patch Farmgirl's blog. The post so resonated with me that I printed it out and put it on my fridge.

Sometimes we have these ideas of what faith and praise look like. At least I do. God is breaking down those thoughts that block his rest in my life. I've been asking him to tower over every pretension.

I'm not happy about being sick again. I'm coughing more even as I type. Yet I'm backing away from the edge of the pit where complaining and self-pity call to me. (see Jesus Calling today)

CELEBRATE WINTER is written on my 2015 Life Map.  I haven't been doing that but I want to. Life is short and often hard and heavy, especially when I am trying to carry the weight of the world.

Everything I read this morning cried out to me - ASK.

I did and I am.

Like the magnet that holds my Flower Patch FarmGirl post to the fridge, thanksgiving holds my petition before Jesus. My trust simply may look differently than I thought.

What does trust look like in your life? I'd love to hear from you either in the comments or via email.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Little Winter Adventure

Cabin fever was overtaking us.

 By 8:00 a.m. Lily and I had already eaten breakfast, watched a show, and cranked the stereo full blast as we danced around the room to praise music. I couldn't find the CD that I knew was one of her favorites. Then I remembered the yellow case in my car, which was out in the garage. 

We both donned as many clothes as possible and headed out. The snow was up to her knees and nearly past my boots. A foot or more of the white stuff had fallen in the past twenty four hours.

"Let's walk over to Grampy's shop, Lily" 

By the time we'd crossed the yard, I realized the wind was coming up and our faces stung with the cold. I knew Lily would never settle for turning around so I pulled our hoods up and we kept going. 

I took enough pics at the shop to create a Shutterfly album. On the way back, Lily pulled off her mittens. Rather than tug the wet soggy ones back on, I surrendered my warm mittens to her little hands. I had misjudged the cold.  My gloveless hands held her soaking wet mittens and my fingers were already beginning to sting and we were only halfway home. I made another swap of mittens and scooped Lily up in my arms, helping the final steps go much quicker.

I glanced at the garage where the CD we'd wanted still remained. By this time my thumbs were paining. 
I opted to head for the house.

Despite our cold hands, we had a great time. As I write this post, Lily naps quietly beside me, perhaps dreaming of colorful adventures on a white winter day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Little Girls Here and There

Apparently little girls across the ocean love pink too!

With everything that has been going on here lately, I nearly forgot about the little package tucked in my sister's suitcase for our sponsored child in Kenya. Anna sent me a photo of nine-year-old Naomi enjoying her gifts. What a smile!

Then there is Relyn's post that touched my heart today. Many of us can relate with her words describing what it's like to walk through the tough times and know there's something beyond this life, another kingdom we live for.

If you read my post on Sunday, you know I struggled with returning home, exhausted after traveling and trying to regain momentum. I found a couple hours on Monday afternoon to finish the first leg of my training in COMPEL Now to make time to put what I've learned into practice. I've been thinking about returning to stories I wrote about my oldest granddaughter when she was but a toddler. Perhaps I will do a bit of practice rewriting and revisiting memorable moments.

Tomorrow my youngest granddaughter comes to stay for a few days. The rhythm changes once again. Isn't that what music is about; sometimes a waltz, sometimes a jitterbug? If you've ever watched Dancing with the Stars, you know how boring the show would be if they danced to the same rhythm week after week.

One thing I know for sure, the next few days will not be boring :)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rest and Reset

I find myself searching for rhythms of rest. I can't get settled. Over on FearlessLines I talk about that as related to creativity.

The past three days were filled with numerous conversations at a funeral, a hospital, a family's home, a motel and a restaurant, with hours of travel interspersed. Our last major stop was to check on our camper and travel the last leg of our journey, the three-hour trek home. 

As I unpacked this morning, I found myself putting things away in the wrong places. Everything took more concentration than normal. Then there's the  replaying conversations in my head of the past week, feeling like I wish I would have said less and listened more. Groan. I want to hibernate for the remainder of winter.

My entire body hurts from all the hours stuck in the car and sleeping on pillows not my own. 

I read my Kindle app on my iPad a lot while we were on the road. When I got home I opened my Kindle and pressed sync. Oila' the magic of electronics brought me to the exact page where I'd left off.  

I want to press the sync button to my body and spirit, causing everything to go back to the way it was a week ago. 

I'd gotten the hang of stretching each day to help my back, shoulders and hips. I felt better. My creative juices were flowing and I had lots of ideas. 

Today- not so much.

I tried a nap, to no avail and I probably should have avoided blogging as you can see. 

When you push the reset button on your satellite dish, it has to go through a long process of checking and restoring settings and functions. There are days we just have to push the reset button and wait.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Living Gifts

Photo taken by his son, Shaun

Isn't it strange how we take for granted the amazing people that God places in our lives? Over the past year I have been paying more attention to the living gifts who surround me. My hubby's sister Cindy and her husband John are among those precious gifts. Over the past several years they have weathered many challenges with great faith and hearts big enough to hold oceans of love, spilling over upon family and friends and even strangers.

This week John went home to heaven and we are left to celebrate his life and mourn our loss. 

I will be off the blog for a few days. Hubby and I will travel a few hours south to John's funeral and another couple hours after that to see my brother in the hospital.

Remember last week when I was struggling with the whispered "wait?"  I wanted to go  to see my brother so badly but God sees the whole picture. I would have just gotten home and had to travel again.

I leave you with encouragement to notice the people God has placed in your life and know that His whispers come from a place higher than where we stand. 

God is good.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Stones, Stirrings and Stillness

from the IF Gathering site

If I'm honest, after Friday evening's If Gathering Local, I was conflicted.

I watched a generation of young women step up to the plate with a fresh hunger for God and a vision to reach out and help other women both here and abroad. I used to dream of this happening when I was leading Bible Studies with younger women. Over the last couple of years, I began to read the books and blogs of women like Jennie Allen,  Angie Smith and Jen Hatmaker. I recognized the stirrings of God deep within the hearts of a new generation. 


That's the word I came home with Friday night . I knew it was in Joshua but not the exact spot. Don't you love Google, and the Strong's concordance app? 

" That way you will know which way to go since you have never been here before." Joshua 3:4 NCV

I am standing in a new place in my life. I'm stumbling even to write this post. I don't know where I fit.

In this season of life I am living without a script. 

On Saturday I watched the If Gathering Livestream most of the day and into the evening. 

I loved what Lynn Hybels shared. She came into a place where she had to stop everything and sit still. She did this over a period of time until life began to stir within her like a tiny green shoot.

IF closed with the question: What is your place and what word will you write on your rock to mark your next step of faith?

My place is Home and Family right now. My word is REST. 

A strange word for a step of faith. 

Not really.

For me it takes faith to wait, to stay still, to not "do" when there are so many directions I could go.

What is your place and your mark today?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Making Room for New

If you've been reading my blog, I may have mentioned that I've been doing some weeding out. I find that as I get rid of stuff that I don't need or love anymore, I make room for new things, people, or experiences.

This week I carried three armloads of books, dishes and clothes into our local thrift store. It felt so good and I'm just beginning.

But let's talk about the new!

Our local Staples store is closing tomorrow so I made a trip in for ink and came out with a lovely three-ring binder and a pencil case ( it was labeled cosmetics but this is Staples, for crying out loud.)
I wish the binder was a bit wider. I've dubbed it my writer's notebook for COMPEL. 

More on the new front! I got a call from a young woman who used to be in youth group when I led it years ago. We've kept in touch via Facebook and Words with Friends. She asked me if I was going to the IF Gathering tonight. What? I wasn't aware we had one in our area. if you aren't familiar with IF, type in Jennie Allen or IF on Google. 

So guess what I'm doing tonight?

This isn't an easy excursion because our temps in the evening have been dipping to 35 below zero with the chill factor. How comfortable it would be to snuggle in and watch television! I'm not taking comfort tonight. Time to get ready so I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blue Book of Memories

A little blue book lies on my nightstand.

Each night as I crawl into bed, I take the Sharpie pen my granddaughter gave to me and record the highlights of my day. Recently I noticed I was robotically jotting down non-meaningful events. No matter how hum-drum the day, there are always "ordinary sparkling moments." (Quote from Artful Blogging)

I can describe myself like a pendulum swinging back and forth today, from weariness to gratitude.  By three o'clock, as I waited in the car for my brother to finish the last of his errands,the weariness overtook me. I was also anxious to get home and call the hospital to check on my other brother. I grabbed my phone and shot a text to a friend of mine who enjoying a warmer climate for a couple months. She responded to my text with "give me a call." 

There I was, bundled up for below zero weather behind the steering wheel, staring at the store window, laughing at my friend's adventures and listening to her describe her ocean view. Her joy was contagious. 

All the strain of the day melted away and a gentle warmth settled over me. I spotted my brother heading to the car. I said goodbye and turned back to the task at hand.

The blue book is waiting for me. I will fill the lines with a phone call, lunch with mom, FaceTime with my precious little granddaughter and my brother doing well after surgery.

Nothing earth shattering but ordinary sparkling moments.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Morning Pages

Not even my restless sleep could steal my anticipation. 

I am returning to morning pages and today is the day. The timing is perfect, ready to begin a new journal. 

I want to make room inside my soul. 

I've been making room in my home these past thirty days. First, my task was cleaning drawers and baskets of clothes sitting full, waiting, taunting. I kept only the clothing I am wearing each day that fits and for the most part that I enjoy wearing.

The second hurdle was the hardest. I love books of many kinds. The books I own are stored in trunks, on bookshelves upstairs and down, on desks and tables. In December I'd already packed two bags for mom and a friend. Yesterday I sat on the floor, handling each book and feeling the joy or lack of. I made a few shelves for favorites, another for keepers, and one for those I want to read. I left my trunks for another time. I filled a bag for the local thrift store and a tote to give to an unknown place as of now.

Making room for new shifted the focus to those books that hold meaning for me in this season.

 I've learned in the past that creating spaces around me causes shifts within.

Today I began writing morning pages once again. This practice clears clutter from my soul, creating space for rest. Perhaps the consistency of pen to page before the day presses in will move me from the shallows of writing into the deep places of heart space. I don't know what this practice holds for me. I only know this feels right.

See a bit more over on Fearless Lines today.