Peace and Quiet

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Smudgy gray clouds lay low across the sky. The temperature is not to rise above the mid-50’s, with rain on the way. By most people’s standards, a typical October day in the Mid-west. The leaves on the trees that line the street are picture-worthy. Bright orange and yellow flames against the gray sky, but with the rain and wind, I don’t know if the leaves will still be on the trees by tomorrow morning. We might just have a blanket of gold on the ground, after it is all said and done.

I find myself pulling my sweater around me, as I walk into the chilly autumn air. The drop in temperature does not yet call for a winter coat, but I must admit the sweater feels really good! I am on my way to the local library to tutor a student. As I sit down at a large wooden table to wait, I am reminded how comforting the library is to me. Quiet. Calming. Yes, I can hear the hum of computers running, and occasionally hear voices….but, overall, it feels insulated from the outside world. I like quiet. I always have. Far too often in my world, life is noisy and stressful and I guess I think of the library as a retreat from all the noise that attempts to steal my attention.

Being alone, allows me to think my own thoughts without being rushed or pushed into the next urgent thing. I hope libraries are around for a long time. Yes, I have a Kindle and a computer. I can download books from the comfort of my own home. That is true, and I enjoy that perk. Yet, there is something to be said for walking up and down aisles of books at the library, or sitting at a table and working in peace and quiet.

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Hard Core Bibliophile

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I received my Country Living magazine in the mail today. I glanced at it, but will have to set aside some time to really read through it. I love my country/decorating magazines. They, along with Pinterest and Houzz, fuel my flea market, antiquing, farm house decorating mania. Also, on the kitchen table lays my summertime read, If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name, by Heather Lende. I decided back in the beginning of summer that I would also start Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon series. That is if I get through with reading Izabella Wentz’s book The Root Cause, which is helping me to understand my autoimmune thyroid disease and how to fight for my health. Truth be told, if I took the time to read all the books I already have (that haven’t been read yet), I’d never have to buy or borrow another book again! Okay, well, at least for several years. I kid you not. I have full bookshelves in just about every room of the house, and lots more reading material stacked around. Yes, I am a full fledged, hard core, bibliophile.

Honestly, I don’t understand people that don’t like to read. I know these people exist, as my husband is one of those people. He is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people that I know, but books are not really his thing. His ADD doesn’t allow him to stay focused long enough to finish….so he is more of a skim and scan reader, along with being a techno-computer geek. I, on the other hand, have literally found myself so immersed in books that I don’t want them to end. I’m sad when I get to the end of a really good book. My (not so secret) desire is to write a book some day. I don’t know if I ever will, but it is a bucket wish type of thing.

The fact that I love to read is probably why I subscribe to so many blogs. About ten years ago I jumped into the blogging world….writing my own…and reading everyone else’s! I have met people from all over the world through blogging. How cool is that? And everything is so interesting! There is a blog to read on just about any subject imaginable.

When going through life, I am the one that is constantly saying, “I read that somewhere”, or “there is a really good piece written on that subject”, and finally, “I need to finish that book before I start this other one”.

To all my fellow bibliophiles, I know you get me, and if you aren’t a die hard reader that is okay…..I love you anyway.

On Cruise Control

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It is already Wednesday evening. The week is half over, and I’m not even sure if I ever got fully started. Can you relate?  I’m sure you know what I mean. Sometimes I go on “cruise control”, do what needs to be done, all part of the regular routines of life. I try to stop and really see the moments, but all too often I walk around with blinders on, completely focused on the urgent. Every day happenings can become emergencies in no time, at least it feels that way.

As one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, mentioned in her book, One Thousand Gifts, life is not an emergency…and we shouldn’t live it like it is. I agree with her completely, and yet, here I sit on a Wednesday night. Depleted. Worn out. Just plain tired.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 38-42

I need to be more like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet. Resting.  I am rereading what Jesus said to Martha. I’m letting it sink in. His words to her are just as relevant today as they were when He first spoke them.

What’s The Word?

Today I am participating in Beloved Brews over at my friend, Bonnie’s, blog.

The prompt for today’s writing: What is your One Word for 2015? 

Beloved Brews Linkup

We are only a couple of weeks into the new year. This year is still fresh with possibilities. In the midst of those possibilities there is this word, “renew“.  The word I have chosen. The dictionary gives the definition of renew as to “re-establish (a relationship)”, or to resume (an activity) after an interruption.  And don’t we all deal with the interruptions of life? We get off track and get back on again. We long to renew our strength, our minds, our bodies.

This past year, I started eating differently, I have exercised more, I’ve read more books, and studied more. I’ve tried a lot of things and sometimes I’ve failed. And that is okay.

I have stopped to really see all the ways that God has gifted me, as I have renewed my mind, my body, and my spirit. In 2015, I continue to be renewed, as I step out and try different things….to follow the plan that God has written, uniquely for me.

Not always easy, but always worth it.

Sometimes the path is difficult and I stumble, but God says, “Even youths grow tired and weary,and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. (Isaiah 40:30-31) 

Thank you, Lord.

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    they will walk and not be faint.

Lifegiving

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Have you ever wanted to run? And just keep running, as far and as fast as you were able? You had no idea what you were running to, but you knew what you were running from…

Me, too.

I won her book in a give away on a friend’s blog site. I was so ecstatic that I had won. The book came in the mail and I immediately ripped off the wrapping and started to read. Good stuff.

Mm hmm……I’m liking this…. and then…….

I stopped.

Ouch.

She was treading a little too close to home for me. I set the book down…and didn’t pick it back up for at least 3 weeks. I stared at it on my bedside table. I saw my bookmark sticking out of the top, showing me exactly where I had left off. I didn’t dare touch it.

Not yet.

Recently, I was angry. Does anybody else do anything around here besides me? Doesn’t anyone else see this?  Why am I the one that is supposed to have all the answers? I don’t know. At that point I didn’t even care. Unforgiving. It was a hard and barren place to be pitching my tent.

Frustration.

Lord, I can’t take care of one more living thing. I don’t want too. When do I get to do what I want to do? Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough energy. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough. I was threatening to boil over with the resentment that I was carrying around with me.

That book was still there. No way. I wasn’t reading that book. Not by that Christian author. Her story, in many ways, was similar to my own. I was afraid to read on…to see how she had allowed God to handle the hard parts of her life. We all face the hard parts, don’t we? The hard parts are different for each of us. What might seem such a small thing to one, might be devastating to another. I won’t go into detail, because quite frankly my frustrations aren’t what is important. The point is, we all are broken and living a life that on some days we just can’t handle. Can I get an “Amen?”

Does anyone else ever have this issue? Do certain books touch you so deeply that you feel God put them in your hands, ON PURPOSE?

God knows that words are important to me, and I’m amazed how He puts just exactly what I need to see, in my path.

” That night I sat, broken, at my small kitchen table. I cried out to God for a lifegiving touch. I pleaded with my Savior to heed my case. He brought me to Isaiah 58. Here was an intense dialogue between seemingly righteous people and the living, holy God. These so-called lovers of God had been fasting and praying, yet they saw no supernatural move on God’s part. In this convicting passage, God blasts their false humility and goes on to say the following:

‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen…to loose… to untie…to set the oppressed free…. to break….Is it not to share…to provide…’  Isaiah 58:6-7

I knew God was speaking directly to me. “But, Lord”, I said.  “What if I can’t do it? What if I will never be happy again, what if I fall apart, or worse yet, break apart? What if I fail?”    —Tammy Maltby from her book Lifegiving  p.75

She goes on to explain her perspective change, how God spoke to her through His word. She understood that He was asking her to release her life to Him. To say  “yes” to His walk.

Reading this caused me to ponder, how many times, as Christians, do we go through “the motions” (sometimes grudgingly) only to realize that we are in desperate need of a new heart? Sigh. God is a masterful heart surgeon. He cuts away that which is not needed….that which is dead and not usable. After the hands of the Great Physician have touched a heart, it can be made new. And vital. And strong once again.

His touch can be life giving.

Welcome To Mitford

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Welcome to Mitford, a small imaginary town in the mountains of North Carolina. You can attempt to look for it on a map, but you won’t find it. It was first established in the mind of Jan Karon, the author and creator of Mitford.

My aunt introduced me to this series years ago. From the moment I opened the first book I was captured in the story. I could “see” the characters, through the gifted writing of Ms. Karon. The small town was alive and real  to me for many, many books. I often tease and say if I could live in any imaginary town from books or movies, it would be Mitford. It is a small town….and well, it just felt like home.

In a world of hustle and bustle, chaotic schedules, and a never ending to do list, it was always nice to settle down in a comfy chair and escape into the lives of the Mitford town’s people.

If you are a voracious reader, like I am…..or even if you are an occasional reader……if you haven’t yet read the Mitford Series books, give them a try. You might find out that you like them. Maybe you’ll find yourself looking forward to the trip you take to the small town in the North Carolina mountains.

So, grab your mug of coffee, find your favorite chair and settle in. The people of Mitford are waiting.

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Do you, my readers, have a favorite series that you would recommend? I would love to hear your choices. What makes you love those books?

A good author is worth his/her weight in gold.

 

 

Welcome The Weekend

Saturdays are for walks and wandering.  Wondering and pondering.

Quiet days in the midst of a busy life.  

I have stilled and quieted my soul.  Psalm 131:2