So Wrapped Up In Everything

This week has been busy, good, but oh so busy. Last night I was so exhausted by the time I made it into bed, I could barely function. Laying my head on the pillow never felt so sweet. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in everything that is going on, that I allow myself to become overwhelmed. In the midst of substitute teaching, appointments, conferences, a new business, a presentation, making contacts, a Masters program, daily chores and errands, and a charity event to attend….. Many times, throughout the week, I had to remember to breathe. I didn’t even have the energy or inclination to mop the muddy dog prints that “decorated” the floor of my house this week! Anyone that knows me, knows that mess only added to my chaotic craziness.

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Just when I would start feeling like I was on a never ending treadmill, God would give me reminders. Reminders of His love. Reminders that it is in my weakness, He gives strength. When my life is rushed and harried, He brings calm. When I feel nervous, scared or unsure, He gives peace that passes all understanding.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.     Philippians 4:7 

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Small Miracles At The Grocery Store

This Friday morning found me at Aldi, doing the weekly grocery shopping, enjoying the stroll up and down the aisles. It was around 11:30am as I was finishing up, ready to check out with my overly full cart. There was only one check out line open, and so I let an older gentleman in front of me. He only had a couple of items and a dozen, beautiful red roses, that I had just watched him choose from the store’s flower bin. He thanked me for letting him “cut” line. I gave him a big smile (I make a habit of smiling often when I am out shopping. I get a lot of smiles in return–a great experiment, you all should try it). I asked him if someone special was getting the roses? He got a grin on his face, and said, “Yes. My wife. This is the anniversary…it is the 21st, right? (I shook my head “yes”.)…..of our very first date.” I replied,”I am sure your wife will love the roses, and that you remembered your first date. That is so sweet.” He smiled and said, “I hope she thinks so.” After he paid and was turning to leave, he looked back at the cashier and at me and said, “We’ve been married 43 years.” I had a big grin on my face…… I hope that loving husband and his dear wife have a very special day celebrating their first date. 

I am thankful for the small miracles in life that God allows me to come across each day, even at the grocery store. 

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Allow The Beauty To Shine Through

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Over the next month, the vibrant greens of summer will begin to fade. The evenings will take on an early, almost- autumn chill, and the leaves on the trees will turn. I enjoy this time of year. This time of anticipation that leads up to full blown Fall in all its glorious splendor.

How many of us feel we are in the late summer of our lives? Youth has faded, and the days take on a different hue. Some people mourn the passing of time, and long for the fresh days of Spring…..but, not me. I am living in anticipation for what is about to come. Life in autumn, that is ablaze with color, with the warmth of family and friends, and filled with thanksgiving.

The older I get, the more I have learned to appreciate the gifts each day offers. This mysterious truth: When I am thankful for all things in this life, at all stages, the more beautiful life becomes.

Thanksgiving in big and small ways, allows the beauty to shine through.

I am thankful: For a fresh mowed yard and a daughter who actually enjoys the job. Morning glories winding their way over the porch banister. A fluffy puppy who loves to play fetch and head butts me until I play too. The smell of the home made vanilla bean lotion that I picked up at the Farmer’s Market last weekend. Fresh, ice cold water that satisfies my thirst. New exciting ideas for my new business. A supportive husband who has faith in me. Rides in the car with my adult children and our conversations that make me laugh out loud. Slow sunsets that melt into the horizon. Standing out in the yard at night, with my family, watching as the space station flies overhead. Marveling at the wonder of it all. My faith in Jesus Christ, the Name above all others….who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

Life is good.

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1

Only A Short Time To Live

On this warm Sunday evening in mid August, I take a few minutes to read back through some of my old blog posts. It is interesting to me how the words I wrote years ago still apply today. My own words remind me to keep the proper perspective.

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ONLY A SHORT TIME TO LIVE

I’m currently watching a movie about a young man that found out he had terminal/stage 4 cancer. In the movie he takes off on his motorcycle, on a journey of self discovery across his homeland of Canada, seeing things through new eyes. It’s the knowing that he is dying that causes him to really live…to truly see. To appreciate.

His perspective changed.

What would I do if I was told I only had a few months left to live?  This question makes for a good movie plot, and allows for me to view some gorgeous scenery while watching this man’s trek across the country…..but, the truth is….

for all of us, it is the change of attitude that causes the change in action.

What are the things that are important to us? Are we thankful for what we have? Or do we take what we have for granted? Who do we thank for this day? This moment? This life?

Do you believe that your life is just a cosmic experiment, and therefore your life is not really important in the big scheme of things? That you are here and then you are gone? That death is final?

Or do you know that you were fearfully and wonderfully made, by God that loves you? He that knows every hair on your head? That understands your motives? That catches all your tears? That sees and knows your heart better than you know yourself?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 NIV

It depends on your perspective…in how you choose to live your life.

None of us is promised tomorrow. Oh, we like to think we have eighty or more years on this earth. That we will die peacefully in our sleep. That we have all the time in the world to….live.

Not true.

The doctor gives the diagnosis. The other car crosses the center line. The heart stops. The brain ceases thinking. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The accident happens. Not waking up.

We are all terminal.

God tells us not to worry about tomorrow, not to live in fear, but to remember that our lives on this earth are like a vapor.

A mist. A swirling mist that is seen in the early morning, soon dissipating with the rising of the sun.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14  NIV

My life is for a purpose. I am here for a purpose…and so are you.

God chose each of us. There are no mistakes with Him. He is not caught off guard by surprises.You are no surprise.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17  NIV

That changes perspective, doesn’t it?

Although it is good, in my opinion, for each person to take stock of their life, to explore new and exciting things, to change what we need to change, to check off the wishes on the “bucket list” ….. it is equally important to be grateful for the life that we have.

This is the life we were gifted with.

I don’t need to travel the world, to see the sights, to know…

that God infuses wonder in each moment.

Whether a person lives only one hour on this earth, or lives to be one hundred years old…in the scope of eternity, it is all a short time.

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22 NIV

You Are Not Too Old

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The other week, on my blog, I posted about dusting off a dream. I’ve been excited about making an official leap into having my own business. I have been an intervention specialist (sped. instructor) for the majority of my adult life. Even before I worked in special education professionally, I worked in it with my heart. Decades later, with much experience, many stories, and multitudes of people that I have helped in some way, I wanted to start my own consulting business. I have been consulting and doing advocacy work with parents and their children informally for several years. Recently, I have felt led to do more, say more, help more, and try harder. My husband continues to be a wonderful support for me, always having faith in my abilities and seeing my heart, even when my vision sometimes became blurred.

A couple of days ago, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I was wondering if I had what it takes to do this big thing? Would I be able to follow through? Was I too old to take more graduate level classes? Would parents care about this? What if the whole thing just blew up in my face? Sometimes negative self talk is more dangerous than anything else we may come across.

So, this morning, I arose early as I normally do. I straightened the house, started the coffee, and fixed breakfast. I slipped into my boots, grabbed the feed pail, and started over to the barn. The morning was quiet and the clouds were low on the horizon. Peaceful. Just then, God stepped into time and space. My time. My space. Although His voice was not audible, He spoke to my heart. Now, I am just as sane as you are, but something happened there in the yard, on the way to the barn. God spoke. He said, in a whisper only my spirit could discern, “You are not too old.” Just like that. I nearly dropped the chicken feed. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I stood rooted to the place. I looked out over the back field, tinged with the early pinks and purples of the morning. “You are not too old.”

I began to think about all the people that I’ve read about in the Bible, from the time that I was small. Many times, God had His children wait. Years would pass. Life went on. They wondered. They wandered. They grew older.  Until God told them, “go”.

“You are not too old.”

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa. 55:9

Blessed Be Your Name

Life has been hectic these last few weeks. My calendar is full and the days are overflowing. My to do list feels never ending. Sometimes life strangles the joy, with the chains of calendars and clocks. I haven’t posted on my blog very much in the last couple of weeks because I’ve not had the time to pull my scattered thoughts together. We all have days like this….or weeks…or months, when life is busy and we just need to stop, but we can’t. Or it feels like we can’t. Tonight I am taking some time. Taking a break from the race, to slow down. Catch my breath. And whisper in the quiet, to God who hears it all, my words of thanks. Once I begin, I don’t stop……there is so very much to be thankful for.

Father God, I acknowledge that You are the Creator and Sustainer, whose mercies are new every morning. You are the Giver of good gifts, and whose love never fails. If you never gave me another thing, what You have already given is enough, the gift of Your Son, Jesus. It is through Him that I have eternal life. I am underserving, but Your love toward me is never ending. Blessed be Your name above all names.  Amen

Today I am thankful to slow down and to savor all the gifts wrapped up in this day: *morning  sunlight filtering through curtains *my husband laying next to me *children that are sleeping soundly *bare feet on the floor *morning barks, meows, and crowing*rubbing the horse’s soft muzzle*morning sunlight setting the metal barn roof in a display of golden*a mowed yard*a good breakfast*the aroma of fresh coffee*the ding that the computer makes reminding me of friends far and wide that are making comments or are leaving me a message*a new website my husband created for me, that will help me to help others*a mama deer and her baby crossing our side yard*church service with fellow believers*singing praise*relaxing on the couch*eating popcorn*laughing*talking with my son about college and work and life*friends that make me smile*new adventures ahead*and God who is wonderful.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”… Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV

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Dust Off That Dream

Have you ever had a dream that just won’t let you go? Thoughts of it, are always in the back of your mind. Sometimes that dream may lay dormant for months, or even years, but every once in a while you’ll take out the dream, dust it off, and wonder what if? Your mind drifts to the possibilities.

I find myself at that place. The dream seems kind of big. A little scary. Sort of overwhelming, but……still……..it remains. I could stay where it is safe, on a path with which I am familiar. If I do that, will I regret it? Even if I try and don’t succeed, I will still have the satisfaction of knowing I tried. That’s something.

God has made each of us unique. Our stories are all different…..no two are exactly alike. That goes for dreams too.

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is found in Hebrews. Chapter eleven recalls people throughout history that proved faithful. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”  Hebrews 11:8 

Abraham trusted God’s plan. He went when he was told, but had no idea where he was going. Can you even imagine? I’m sure Abraham had times where he was nervous, or confused, and the promise of a place seemed far, far away, yet he still believed and he remained faithful to God’s promise.

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“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” –Earl Nightingale