Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Changes

This month has been the month of changes for me. I've needed to make some adjustments to my life, my schedule, and some internal changes to the way I approach my daily routine. I've also had to look at some of the challenges God has been calling me to and step out in obedience to Him. Some of the changes have required boundaries that have been painful and uncomfortable, requiring me to wait on God and be patient.  Most of the changes have been good, some of them have been the process of accepting hard news, or taking a stand that I think may create tension.
Yesterday was a mixed up day for me. It was an example of the changes I'm working to make all come together. My son stayed home from school, he gets to do that every now and then, we spent the morning being together. It was very nice. We played several games. He drove my truck around the driveway. And, I pushed him in the swing for a long time as we talked, then he pushed me. I loved our time together, and I'm looking forward to spending time like that with him again. It was nice, because I want to intentionally spend time alone with each of my children.
I then reconnected with a friend, and once again, recognized that God was directing my steps in amazing ways. It was His timing, not mine.
The afternoon was spent playing with my daughter, one on one with her. She found a game she especially enjoyed and it was exciting to me to see God work in her life through a game!
My daughter in-law had a party in the evening, and I went to that. It was very nice. I'm always so impressed by everything my daughter in-law does!  She had the party at her mother's house. A lovely group of women showed up. I noticed that even though we didn't all know each other, there was a connection between the women, and the conversation was good. It wasn't just surface talk the entire time, but heart to heart talk at times. I noticed that there was grace in the circle of women she invited, and I was not surprised!
So, many wonderful things about my day. I also had some news that left my heart feeling ripped apart, consequently, a mixed up day. It brings me back to the changes of life. Life can seem one way today, but tomorrow it can all change, the only thing that really stays the same is Jesus. I will change, the world will change, the people around me will change, but Jesus will stay the same. Say That Again, Jesus, You will stay the same!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Destination

Home is a sweet destination, I like being here, and I like the people I come home to. Home sweet home.  I spent the day traveling home yesterday, and it seemed like a very long trip home. Before leaving to drive to the airport, we stopped to see my mom. It was a nice visit. She was waiting to go to physical therapy, for her broken hip, so she was up and dressed. I helped her put on her shoes, and I brushed her hair. We chatted about the wedding of my niece. Goodbyes can be awkward and painful, and strained for me. But, life is full of goodbyes.
Our trip to the airport was a five hour journey, and even though we had an evening flight, we had decided we should leave in the morning, just in case. We had extra luggage that we were taking back with us, and it felt like it was best to have extra time. So, we started our trek North. My waves of emotions continued along the way as I thought about the last few days and determined what the next steps would be.
I thought of  many good memories on our drive to the airport,  camping trips with my brother and spinning rides in Disney Land. Memories of learning to drive his car, and then wrecking his car! Good conversations, trust, and time spent together.
Our plane was delayed, so we were graciously put on a different flight.  There were times that it felt like home would not be in my sights, but finally by 2 am, I was back in my country home with my husband and Fur Ball, my children peacefully sleeping in their beds.
Life throws curve balls, this I know. The curve balls are relationships. We all want to get home to the relationship that feels the best and the safest. I want to get home, to my sweet, sweet, home. There's a lot of curve balls out there, and I want them to be straight.
 Jesus, You can straighten the curve!  Sometimes to me the trip is very long, but I know You are right there beside me and You are leading the way. You are the Destination.  Say That Again, You are the Destination.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Hug

Today I travel home. Home to my husband and my children. Home to Fur Ball. Back to my country house, and friends that I miss. This trip has been a mix of laughter, buckets of tears, deep emotion, and surface conversations. It has been good. God, in His mercy has gently pushed me along His path lighting the Way each day. Sometimes there is so much pain mixed right in with the joy, I find that I have to just sit still and ask God to wash over me and help me sort through all the emotion.
Last evening, as I stood to say goodbye to someone that has deeply influenced my life, I hugged him. The impact on my heart, and on his at that moment was great. I felt a mix of emotion, love, grief, relief, joy, compassion, and happiness.
Jesus brings me to these amazing places when I pray for truth and joy. Sometimes joy is hidden in pain, and truth is something I have to dig for or wait for God to reveal to me. He does it in loving ways, and sometimes in shocking ways, sometimes through joy, other times through pain. Sometimes in a hug.
Jesus, Say That Again to me, You have wrapped me in Your hug all day long and I am grateful. Thank you for walking with me on this journey.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The U-Turn Trip

So, I'm on a trip. I packed my suitcase a couple of times, a friend came and helped me.  I will be attending a wedding, in a field, so I did decide that wearing my cowboy boots, after all, would be a mighty fine idea. I had a pretty hard time deciding what else to wear, so my suitcase is pretty full. Now that I'm here and I see all that I've packed it's kinda silly. I packed skirts, and it's cold, so I may not be wearing those. I need warm clothes, like the hats and the mittens that I left in my truck. I did pack jeans too, so at least I have options. And, I packed sweaters, but the wedding is at sunset, so I am not sure a sweater is going to be enough for warmth.
My husband hoisted my bag into my truck at 4 am Thursday morning and I headed to pick up my friend and then to the airport. It seemed that everything was right on track. We arrived at the airport just a few minutes after 5 am, our boarding passes already were in our hands. But, when we got to the security line, my heart sank just a little. I couldn't believe how long it was! I began to wonder if we would get on the plane in time. As I looked at the faces of other passengers coming into the line, I wondered if they might be thinking the same thing. We made it through the line and sat down on the plane 15 minutes before we were due to take off. Perfect!
Our flight was great and I had my usual ginger ale and also some coffee. We had a short little layover in Denver, with just enough time to delight in a bagel  and take a quick tour of some of the airport. We landed right on time at our destination.
It just happens that there's a big event in this city this weekend, and droves of people are coming in as well. Everybody is renting a car, and by the time we got to the car rental they didn't seem to have a lot of options left. We got a Kia, which is fine, but let me just say this, it isn't a Land Rover. And, driving it has been interesting, well, maybe a little jerky at first. Kia's do not like curb's and stuff.
My friend and I discovered that the gps on our phone, the one with the little blue dot, does not always agree with our brains. So, we have named this trip  The U-Turn Trip. We seem to be going along just fine, and it's time to turn, pretty much every time we turn the wrong way.  I will point out that the blue dot is moving in the wrong direction. Whoops, another u-turn!
Today, is the wedding. And, more visits with family. Today, is more opportunities for me to live in truth and joy and the abundance of His Spirit. The last couple days, from the packing of my suitcase, to the long line, the rental car, and all the u-turns, I have recognized God's laughter and His humor in this trip. He has weaved fun throughout my day for me and my friend. He has given me ways to relieve travel stress, and ways to recognize His love and care.
Even in the moments that I have felt intense emotion, God has swept over me in comfort and helped me through. He continues to remind me that all that He is resides deep within me, showing me the way, the truth, and the light.
This morning I read this verse:

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalms 16:11

Jesus, Say That Again, in all walks of life, no matter what the situation, You will show me the path, and in Your presence there is fullness of joy, and pleasures forevermore. Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Button Party

Our ministry, Agape Celebration, had a Button party. A friend of mine suggested it awhile back, and it was a great idea!  A couple of our team members got the plans together and we had a great party. A lot of people showed up with a variety of projects, tons of buttons, and much anticipation for a full evening of creative, artistic, button, fun!
The project I brought was pretty much finished, so I spent most of my time taking pictures and talking to everyone that came. It was good. I attempted to make a button bracelet, and managed to get two buttons together, then realized that it probably wasn't going to be my favorite project. My more creative friend on the Agape Team, kindly finished it for me.  Whew, saved by creativity!
It was fun to see all the colors of buttons and how some people like to mix them up and others like to keep their colors together, and in order. Big buttons, little buttons, and medium sized ones too. Old ones, and newer ones. A button to meet every need, just look, and you will find. I was happy to see how the buttons were shared, and there was enough for all.
I've had fun adding buttons to different things around the house. I put some buttons on a lamp shade.

And. some buttons on a canvas.

And, some buttons on a chalkboard

 Buttons on a vase

And, last, but certainly not least, a book with buttons. This book holds recipes that a friend and I have cooked together. Meals I've cooked with success. And, favorite pictures of family and friends, along with favorite memories.

The Button Party was a lovely combination of all of these things. But, most of all, it was lovely women coming together and being in fellowship with each other. I thought is was very nice, a colorful, button-filled experience!
Many of my friends were there, and I met many new women too. My team got to be challenged in some new ways, and we all learned how to do events better the next time. God continues to grow me, teach me, and challenge me. It's just like the buttons on a project, He just keeps stacking up the different challenges, but still I will persevere.  As they stack, I grow and become glued to Him and to others, through His Spirit.  He continues to Say That Again and Again to me so I will not loose hope and I will remember that it is about Him and not me!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Shoes in the Corner

I spent some time in my closet; it needed some refining. I was fishing around in the back corner, and much to my surprise, I found my summer shoes! The dear summer shoes that I thought I had lost, the ones that I thought may have ended up at the thrift store. Yup, I found them, in my closet, safe and sound.  I will admit, that there was a small element of disappointment deep within my heart. If I had not found my summer shoes, then I could have begun to collect several new pair, or new to me, at least. But, now that I have found the lost summer shoes, I probably will not gather as large of a collection! I piled them in the middle of the closet, so now I won't loose them again. Soon, it will be warm enough to replace the winter boots and shoes with the summer shoes.
I was curious this morning what the Bible said about shoes, so I looked it up. In 1 Timothy 6:8 I read this:

If we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough. (Message)

Once again, I have been blessed with many shoes to put on my feet, and I am thankful. The God of grace is showing me and gifting me in lovely ways. Say That Again, Jesus, You have put shoes on my feet, now direct my path.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Real Adventure

The last few days have been an adventure for me, full of laughter and tears. I went away with a friend to her cabin, nestled by a river, far from the harried life of town, schedules, and life in general. It was beautiful. The sound of the river, the surrounding mountains, the green with wildflowers. We talked, we  ate, we napped.
The first morning I was there I read this from one of my books:
Our emotional health is dependent upon our emotional honesty .We can't be right with God and not be real. If necessary, God may have to make us real in order to make us right with Him.

God and I have been on a journey of being real for a long time now. He has given me many adventures that provide opportunities for me to feel real emotions, and then decide whether or not I want to be honest about those emotions. This weekend, He let me practice that a lot. As I spent time with Him, He reminded me of times in my life that were things I would prefer to bury and not be honest about, but as I  explored them I could see that not only did I feel more real inside, but my view of reality was changing even more to God's view.

We hiked a trail, it was a short hike.  But, as I looked out over the canyon and saw the river and the mountains on the other side,  I realized that it was all like a drawing of my life.  The river with it's swift current the rocky mountain peaks, the valleys, the flowers, and prickly cactus. Sometimes, in my life, I have been carried away by the swift current, drowning, with thoughts of despair. But, somehow, the current spits me up on the shore and I feel like I am left to dry out in the desert sand. Other times in life I have been on mountain peaks soaring like an eagle, but then I can do a nose dive and go down to the valley, into the shadows. Yet, in the shadows, there can be beautiful flowers, and moments where God is finding it necessary to make me right with Him.

There was a four wheeler there. I drove it. At first I was slow, but then I discovered the higher gears, and learned that possibly I could venture off the trail---just a little bit. My friend was brave to ride with me, because I'm not experienced. So, as I was racing up the rocky trail, I didn't quite make the corner, or something, and I hit a rock that was rather large. And, then I hit a weed, or maybe it was a bush.....Whatever the case, the four wheeler did not approve of my driving at this point, and decided to tip over.  But, both my friend and I being quick witted and limber managed to dive out of the way so we were not under the massive machine. My quick wit, landed me in a lovely garden of cactus, consequently giving me a prickly butt. My friend, also had some prickly friends, and felt some bruises. The initial response from both of us was for each other, then we wondered about the four wheeler. It was, by the way, just fine. Then, I noticed, that I was having trouble with my emotions. I felt like a little kid that might be in trouble. I wasn't so sure that I would experience grace, even though there hadn't been any damage that we could tell.

Our boat ride came and we relayed the four wheeler accident. I could feel the tension inside of me building as I waited for the condemnation. But, it didn't happen. In fact, instead of condemnation, I was offered the boat to drive as well. That's odd! My brain did a retake on that, and God clapped His hands! What does God have to do to make me right with Him? What does He have to do to make you right with Him? Yesterday, I recognized that this journey I am walking, is God making me right with Him by bringing people into my life that show me grace and love, even when I make mistakes or am not able to return to them the same abundance. People that continue to Say That Again to me, "It's okay, just one day at a time, in faith."
God found it necessary to make everything more real through a river, a cactus, a four wheeler, a boat, a cabin, and most of all through the love and grace of friends. Say That Again!

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Missing Shoe Box

I have a distressing problem. Warmer weather is approaching and I cannot find the box that holds my summer shoes. I packed them, I'm sure we moved them, but I have no clue where they are. I'm leaving in a couple of weeks to go to a wedding, and I'll be going to warmer climate, I'm going to need something on my feet other than boots or clunky clogs, right? I ventured to the thrift store yesterday, in hopes of finding a great pair of summer shoes, but everything I found was either too big or too small. I tried to squeeze into a couple pairs of sweet little flats, which would've been perfect for the outside evening wedding I'm going to, but, no, yesterday was not my day for shoe thrift store shopping.
I pondered the missing box today, and ventured into my closet a couple times to take inventory of the shoes I have. They are all very wintery and dark. Hmm, I might be hot, which isn't a bad thing for me, but I'm not sure that my cowboy boots are the right attire for the dress I'll be wearing. I wonder where that box is with all my summer shoes? I guess it won't matter, as long as I have something on my feet.
This morning, I read in the book of Ephesians, and in chapter 3, verse 12 it says this:

When we trust in him, we're free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. 

I guess it just reminded me of shoes, and walking wherever I need to walk, trusting Jesus as I go. As I step forward wearing my shoes, whatever kind they are, I'm going to pray for His boldness and the freedom to use it. He is with me all the way, Say That Again, Jesus, if I trust you, I am free to say whatever needs to be said, and bold to go wherever I need to go! You provide the shoes for me to walk in. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Free Life

The sun has actually peeked through every day here, and it's been warm!  My kids have been off of school on Spring break. They have been to the park, enjoyed ice cream, raced their bikes around a track, indulged in fast food, played on the X-box, and stayed up later then their usual time. I think, for them it's been a good Spring break so far, and today they have more fun plans. They are excited to be home and not in school. The idea of going back to school next week is not fun for them, they are ready for summer break! Me? I'm not ready for summer break yet, I may need to get a few more things lined up before I dive into summer!
When my kids play together nicely it goes really well, they are happy and the day is smooth. They can play all day with each other in a kind and loving way. But then sometimes we have days when they are not kind and loving; it does not go so well. They can fight, and the more they fight, the less freedom they have. There's tension, and it's just not fun.
This morning, I read the book of Galatians and it reminded me of my children. There was one verse though that struck me:

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life.

A little further down it says this:

If you bite and ravage each other,watch out-in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be?
Galations 5:16

Wow! This is exactly what happens with my children!  So I have to ask myself, how do I bite and ravage others in ways that cause me to loose my freedom? How do I allow self interest and sinful compulsions to take over my relationships in such a way that I can no longer serve in love?
Well, the answers require some pretty serious time on my knees before my Holy God. And, I have to ask Him to Say That Again to me, Jesus You have called me to live a free life, absolutely free, lead the way!