Tag Archive | choice

Quiet Amidst the Chaos

April is spelled c-h-a-o-s in our house. Controlled chaos, but chaos none the less.

Rebuilding Together Muscatine County is the non-profit my husband began twelve years ago in our county.

In April, it is in full swing; rehabilitating homes for those in need. Ten projects in all just for this month. Changing the lives of folks who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks.

It is a wonderful kind of busy; but the grass still grows, and other household chores don’t just disappear.

Then we add the seven grandchildren and all of their Spring programs. Since we try to support them in all of their doings, there aren’t many blank spaces left on the calendar.

April is full of preparations for beginnings and endings; school years, graduations, summer sports, and conferences in other towns to plan for the future.

My April, is not unlike your April. The sub titles are just different.

So. How does one keep their thoughts straight, schedules in line, and their brains in tact?

I’m not sure how you handle all of this, but I can try to share a trick or five that I have found helpful.

Make a list

A week before, the night before, or the morning of. Having a list of things that need to be accomplished is most helpful. This will help you keep on track.

Referring to that list, keeps those things from jumbling around in your head, and lets you know when you’re veering off track. It helps to keep your mind quiet.

Use that note taking feature on your phone or other device. When you’re out and about, jot those reminders down so you won’t forget.

NEVER trust yourself when you say “Oh there’s no way I can forget that!”

Best use of your time

Each one of us have a time of day that works best for us. If I make appointments in the morning, then when I get back, it is a real fight to get my thinking turned on.

Do you do better with the thinking things in the morning, and the physical tasks later in the day? Before you eat? After you exercise? At midnight or at daybreak?

There are as many answers to that question as there are people. Find out the answer that best fits you, an stick with it.

Get help

It is not weakness to get help. In fact, it will make you stronger.

Each of us is simply better at different things.

Are you good at making that sign you need for your upcoming project, or does it take all of your strength and several days for this task?

Enlist the help of someone who loves doing it. Your strength will be saved, and your project will turn out better than you could have imagined.

Energy, frustration and brain cells saved. Leaving you with what you need for the next task.

Take time for yourself

I call this Quietude, or quiet time. Some call it Me Time. Call it whatever you like, but make time for it.

Quiet time energizes me, and helps my insides to remain calm no matter how busy the days become.

Some ideas for quiet time;

  • A soft chair, a clean window and a hot cup of coffee. This is my favorite.
  • Low light or natural light, either works
  • Soft instrumental music in the back ground.
  • Add a book to read, or a journal to write in.
  • Sometimes, only the first one. Taking time to just BE.

For some, the thought of all that silence is terrifying. They energize in an entirely different way.

Some ideas for them may be;

  • A short walk
  • A lively conversation with a friend
  • Group sports
  • Energetic music
  • Can you think of more? (Please share)

You may enjoy either one of these, or you may be somewhere in the middle. You might even be something totally different. (If that’s you, I’d love to know what it is that helps you.)

The point is – Take care of yourself! Take three minutes if that is all you have. Twenty if you’ve got it. More time if you can find it.

It may turn out to be several times a day in smaller increments. Whatever.

Know when to say when

If we allow ourselves to drain, we have nothing left and will only be miserable. We’ll feel guilt for all the things we do not have the energy to do.

If we take care of ourselves, then we can take care of others. We can then do all of our activities with a certain amount of peace inside.

When your mind and body say no more; you may have to make some difficult decisions. Decisions that will protect you later on.

Decide to give yourself time to recharge, whatever that looks like. Decide, and stick with it.

There may be fingers coming underneath that bathroom door – but take that time anyway – You’ll be happy that you did.

Stories from the 99 County Bible Reading Marathon Muscatine County (1)

On day one of our Bible Reading Marathon, June 30, we woke up to rain. Not just a little rain, but a lot of rain. This is never good for the opening day of an outdoor event. But in our house, we say we choose the day, not the weather, and go about our business.

The rain did relent long enough to get our spot in front of the county courthouse set up. The goal was set to read the entire Bible from beginning to end, beginning on June 30, and finishing on July 3. The first reader arrived at the appointed time, and the reading began.

Our first “Group” of readers came from a local church. There were but a half dozen of them, and it was nice to know that they felt it important enough to come and read in the rain.

Galaxy Prime Photos 2016 437  Galaxy Prime Photos 2016 436   Galaxy Prime Photos 2016 438

We did have a canopy, but the rain was coming so hard, that it was leaking on us even under the tent. We used our umbrellas under the tent as needed.  I am fairly certain that from the street, it looks like a circus tent, but the reading went on.

We simply changed our minds from grumbling about the rainy conditions, to thanking God for the rain our farmers need, and also the fact that nearly every where in the Bible that it speaks of water, the Holy Spirit is involved. Rain down Holy Spirit, rain down. (God You Reign!)

 

That first day was really full on sign ups, with only one no show, that was not weather related. (That person ended up coming back more than once after missing the first time slot!)

The rain finally did subside, and although quite chilly, the rest of the day finished with great success.

It was decided that we would not go through the overnight hours, with safety being a large issue. So after the last reader at 10:00, with a little help from a friend, we packed up the truck to return Friday morning at 6:00.

God, You will need to make up for our lost over night hours so we can finish on time.

Stay tuned for story #2, you’ll begin to see why I say our God is Ever Faithful.

 

Perfect Timing

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Today I had an opportunity to do a couple of things I really love doing.

I got to meet with an amazing group of ladies for Bible study, and then with some of those ladies, I got to participate is some pretty in depth conversation at our Directors meeting. Those women help my brain go where it won’t go on its own. What a blessing.

In the Bible study we read from Galatians 5:13-26. We talked about the lists in these verses. The first items listed are detestable, the state of our hearts. The second list was much more palatable to my senses.

After discussing the way we were born into this world, and how we get to choose to become the second list instead of the first, we could wonder why after all these years we are not further than we are.

When I arrived home, I heard this quote on the Revive Our Hearts program with Nancy Leigh DeMoss ~ One of her past mentors said it t o her ~

“Maturity.  It’s not where you’re at.  It’s the direction in which you’re headed.”

You have perfect timing God, always.

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

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Don’t Stop !

 

 ark

I have recently toyed with the idea of building another ark, and ACTUALLY have pumped lots of water and replaced the water heater. Well, I didn’t replace the water heater but my husband and his friend did. The furnace was saved, and I am grateful.

God supplied, in the middle of all that rain, a beautiful weekend for my husband’s non-profit to have a very successful National Rebuilding Together Day. It is a day annually, when almost 200 affiliates nationwide make repairs to homes of Disabled American Vets, the Elderly and families with small children.  All who fall well under the poverty line. These are the ones that fall through the cracks, the ones with no hope.

I find my husband’s passion to be not unlike the passion of all who work in the ranks of the Erika Kate Foundation.

I am blessed to be able to participate with the Erika Kate Foundation.

To be a shining light, a glimmer of hope to those who have given up. To show even these, that they have worth, and that they matter.

The Erika Kate Foundation has a vision for providing financial, physical and spiritual assistance to families in the midst of medical crisis, working with social workers in pediatric heart centers nationwide. They let these ones know about the Hope that lives in us. Christ in us, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27.

At the beginning of April, I asked my team to please consider what they have been sowing into their passion. If the things they have been spending their time on, were feeding into that passion, or taking away from it.

Since that time, I have not only been spending time feeding into my husband’s passion, Rebuilding Together, taking care of the widows and the orphans, James 1:27, but considering what my passion for studying God’s Word, and how I might share His truths with those I come in contact with.

I have found myself distracted. I am distracted not only by my own thoughts, but by the wants and needs of others and a plethora circumstances beyond my control.

I said all that to say this;

Don’t stop. Continue to drag yourself (sometimes literally) to the places and things and people who can breathe life and energy into you.

Forget not, that God is waiting in the Secret Place for you. He is there whether you are feeling very strong, or very weak.

The people that God has put in your life, He has put there on purpose. Iron sharpens iron. Proverbs 27:17. They also carry your cot when you are not strong enough to carry it yourself.  Mark 2:4, Luke 5:19.

I know that this has been my experience for the last little while. I am confident that someone who is reading this now is facing the same thing.

Guess what? This means you are doing it right!

If you are seeking God’s face, Psalm 27:8, then these things will come upon you to make you stop. 1 Peter 4:12.

Don’t give up !  Keep seeking !

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

 

New Observations

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Just this week I began reading the New Testament again
Just one chapter a day, not really looking for anything in particular, just whatever God might want to show me.
In chapter two of Matthew it talks about the Magi coming to visit Jesus after His birth. The notes in my Bible say that they were probably members of a learned religious class from the region now called Iran and that they specialized in astrology, medicine and natural science. Dictionary.com says that they were the Zoroastrian priests of the ancient Medes and Persians, and were probably sorcerers or magicians.
Either way, they were intelligent men, independent thinkers and men of some great means. When these men heard of the birth of the Christ child, they considered Him to be worthy of their thoughts, time and treasure.
Did they really believe that He was the Savior of the world, or did they just want to feed their extensive intellect some more? We cannot know for sure, we are however told, that they did believe Him to be the King of the Jews.
A couple of verses lit up my heart and mind during this read.
I had never before considered the REACTION of these notable men when they learned of this birth.
For one thing, women always have babies. That is what they do. This is not an oddity. So something had to light up their hearts and minds to even think to make the trip to see, and worship this … baby.
Here is what “Lit up” for me.
1. They were over overjoyed see the star that would guide them v.10
2. On seeing Jesus and His mother Mary, they bowed down and worshipped Him v.11
3. They opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts v.11b
4. They had been warned of Herod in dream and so returned by another way v.12
Here, I believe, is how it pertains to you and me.
1. God has given us His Word, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Should we not be overjoyed? A sign that He wants to guide us? Having been raised in a family that went to church every week it is easy for me to be lazy and think, “Oh that.” Bible? I probably have five of my own, and access to hundreds more. Many have given their lives for just one page.
2. We humans give glory to movie stars, sports teams, TV shows, doctors, writers, apparel, and sin. Should we not instead bow and give homage to the Holy Lamb of God, who became human so that He could take away the sin of the world? One should sound crazier than the other to us.
3. God created the earth and everything in it. It is His. Yes, it is ours as well, but only because He gave it to us. In our gratitude, I believe we should be willing to open our treasures back to Him for His use, and His glory. The Bible plainly teaches that He WILL NOT share His glory with another. We so don’t want to be guilty of stealing His glory and replacing it with something of far lesser value. It will not bode well for us to be selfish in this way. Instead, let our time and talents be used to help others to achieve greater knowledge of Him and all He has given us.
4. When we find ourselves filled with the knowledge of who He is, we can then turn a different way. Instead of always seeing the negative in a situation, we can see it as an opportunity for growth. When we see where we have been wrong, He will allow us to see how we can do things a different way. The path of our lives can be changed. When we open our hearts and minds to Him, He will show us great and mighty things that we did not know. His ways are most often completely opposite of the way we did things in the past, but that should be the fun of it. What an adventure to learn new and better things all the time!
So with all that, I’ll end by asking you these questions;
1. Are you overjoyed with your life?
2. Have you bowed your knee in worship to Jesus?
3. Have your opened your treasure box and offered your gifts back to Him?
4. Have you turned from your sin and gone another way?
5. If you have ……… Amazing, well done.
6. If haven’t ………….. Would you like to?
Just say something like this to God;
Dear God,
I lack Your joy in my life, I would like to experience it. Please show me how I can honor You and give You glory. Help me to turn over to You the key to my treasure box so that all you have gifted me with can give You glory. Help me to turn from my wrong doing, to set aside my earthly knowledge, and to trade it for Your heavenly knowledge. Help me to go a different, the way that keeps me close to You. I thank you in advance being on the path with me, and for bringing along others that will help me to see the path more clearly.
Amen.

God bless you today – For you are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.
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Grief Choices #3

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For the final installment on the topic of grief,

I want to share a Bible story with you.

You will find it in 1 Samuel Chapter 30.

 

David and his men lived in Ziklag.

Upon returning from one of their trips, they had found that the Amalekites had raided their town, burned it to the ground and  captured all of their women and children.

The story goes on to say that David and his men were quite distraught.

One can only imagine the grief that they felt when losing absolutely everything they cared about, lived for and fought for. Having it all destroyed in their absence. 

The Bible tells us the steps David took after his horrific findings;

1. He wept aloud.

                There was no place for holding in his emotions.

                They are God given. 

                Letting them out is indeed cathartic.

2. David then found strength in his God.

                When he was done weeping, his strength was gone, and he knew that his God would restore him.

3. David inquired of God.

                What could he possibly do to remedy the situation?

                God is always faithful to give truthful answers.

                David knew that God’s answers truly work, and that they would not be simply be a bandage for his wounds.

4. David pursued his enemy.

                God revealed the enemies position to David and in the end, David recovered all that had been  taken from  him.                        

And then some, enough to be share with everyone.

                When we find out who and where our enemy is, then we can take appropriate steps to stop him from doing

his evil deeds again.

 

I pray that we will be able to ask God how He might be able to use our process of grief to share encouragement with others who are not as far along in the process.

 

Scripture says that He holds our tears in a bottle.  Psalm 56:8

Oh that they would not be wasted.

 

We get to choose to be better and not bitter after grievous things happen in our lives.

 

Choose wisely.

 

And remember –

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Grief Choices #2

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My prayer is that your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations were calm, and shiny, and bright.

Where ever you physically found yourselves, and in whatever circumstances you found yourself in.

Some have had a particularly hard year, while others have found 2012 to be a year of more ease than they may be accustomed to.

But still, in either case, with Christ in us, the Hope of Glory, our hearts can be calm. And shiny. And bright.

 

My husband and I decided to run away from home.

Our run took us to three different states to see three different families.

Different cultures every one.

New Year’s Eve and New Years Day were spent together at home.

Quietly.

We are refreshed.

 

I want to share with you a few more choices to consider so that your grief process can continue to its completion.

That is if it is ever completed.

As with many things in our lives God heals us in levels, continuing to surprise us with His grace and love towards us.

Here goes;

*I CHOOSE to embrace the changes brought on by current losses, without grumbling. To learn from the bad, and to remember the good. I will tell a good story.

Philippians 4:7-9 (KJV) 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.    8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.      9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

I CHOOSE to look for the resurrection. New life is brought through crucifixion. Grief is a path to restoration. I choose to see and participate in the restoration process.   

John `2:23-25 (NIV1984) 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

 

*I CHOOSE to allow the stripping of the “old way” of doing things. I choose to allow God to scrutinize me at my core, and to re-define His call on my life.

Note; This stripping will occur over time. In my own case, I was down to zero in the stripping down department. After current events, I found there was much more. So at his point I cannot say that I know exactly where zero is any more. What I DO know is that He is by my side. He is holding my hand over the rocky ground. He carries me when needed. I know I can trust Him, so “It Is Well With My Soul.”

This transition time is lengthy and exhausting, both mentally and physically, but as in the birthing of babies, transition is the most difficult time for the mom. She feels vulnerable and overwhelmed. She becomes frustrated, discouraged, irritable disoriented and restless.

YUCK!

However, the result is the ultimate in joy. The reward is great.

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

So it is with the new birth of myself, that is unencumbered by the stabbing pain and heavy load of grief. Though the process is lengthy and exhausting, both mentally and physically, I can trust in my Savior that the outcome will be ultimate joy.

Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

*I CHOOSE to remember that this time will end.

As time goes on my old mindsets will be dropped. They will go out kicking and screaming as any bad habit does, but if I stay on track and focus on Him, they WILL drop.

I will tend to want to go back to them because they are familiar, but the old mindsets will not work in the place God has for me, so I must resist looking back.

God alone knows what I can take to this new place, and what will fit. If I try to take too much, it will be back to the desert for me to unpack some more.

What I need to do is make a demand. Not on God, but on myself. A demand that requires me to spend more time inquiring of Him, meditating on His word and seeking to follow Him on this new path.

I am confident that adhering to this process will be as rewarding as it is difficult.

As time passes I will begin to feel in me what He has already started. A renewing and a refreshing and a restoring that will lead straight to whatever it is that God has planned for me.

Jeremiah 29:10-11 (NLT) 10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV1984) 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Then, when I look back, I will not only see how far I have come, but I will also notice that indeed, the desert is blooming.

As grief subsides, clarity will come. After taking a deep breath, I will look to my future with hope and a promise from God.

Peace and confidence will be my allies.

*I CHOOSE to allow it.

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Fearfully and wonderfully made